Volunteers’ training ahead of the pack

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Volunteer development officer Bob Selkirk and Level 2 ambulance officer Glenys Hough are two of more than 3700 clinical volunteers across regional WA whose training equals that of career paramedics overseas.
Camera IconVolunteer development officer Bob Selkirk and Level 2 ambulance officer Glenys Hough are two of more than 3700 clinical volunteers across regional WA whose training equals that of career paramedics overseas. Credit: Emily Ace / South Western Times

St John Ambulance WA has released new information which shows its clinical volunteers receive the same level of training as career paramedics in big urban areas of North America and Europe.

St John has more than 3700 clinical volunteers across regional WA who work alongside paramedics to provide emergency medical care.

Across regional WA, St John has more than 3700 clinical volunteers who work alongside paramedics to provide emergency medical care.

St John Country Ambulance Service general manager Julian Smith said the organisation wanted to highlight the capacity of its clinical volunteers in order to grow a better understanding of how volunteers can and do save lives.

“It’s incorrect to assume that just because someone is a volunteer they’re less able to handle emergency situations and provide the highest level of patient care,” Mr Smith said.

“Every day across Western Australia our clinical volunteers help save lives.

“They’re able to do this because they’re equipped with sophisticated clinical training equal to that undertaken by emergency medical technicians in some overseas ambulance services.

“When we speak to overseas paramedics about our volunteer workforce, they’re often blown away by the kind of skills that can be acquired by regular members of the community.

“This is fundamental to the success of St John’s integrated service model and a key reason why WA’s Country Ambulance Service is among the most effective and efficient emergency services in the world.”

Despite facing many challenges unique to country areas, regional crews consistently respond to emergency calls faster than their counterparts in capital cities outside of Western Australia.

Regional crews – made up of clinical volunteers under the supervision of paramedics as well as completely volunteer crews– also achieved survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients comparable to those in metropolitan Perth.

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