As part of good governance the Minister for Health asked that an assessment of the organisational structure, management arrangements and models of care of NSW Ambulance be undertaken to support improved access to critical care services for the NSW community.
To facilitate this, the Director-General appointed Mr Brendan O'Reilly AM, former Head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet to lead the review. Dr Peter Sharley OAM, a medical retrieval specialist from South Australia, was also appointed as an independent expert to offer advice on the Aeromedical component of the strategic review.
The review has proceeded in two interrelated stages:
The Hon Jillian Skinner, Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research released the Government’s Reform Plan for NSW Ambulance on 18 December 2012.
The plan sets out five strategic directions for improving the operations of NSW Ambulance:
- integrating NSW Ambulance within the broader health system
- separating non-emergency patient transport from urgent medical retrieval patient services. This means that NSW Ambulance can better focus on its core role – attending to emergencies
- developing new models of care and investing in new providers to effectively manage demand; have a positive impact on response time; reduce paramedic fatigue, and improve the operating costs of NSW Ambulance
- ensuring that NSW Ambulance has effective infrastructure with a funding model that ensures financial sustainability into the future
- strengthening the leadership, workforce and governance structure of NSW Ambulance and embracing the NSW Health CORE values of Collaboration, Openness, Respect and Empowerment.
Using existing resources, the NSW Ministry and NSW Ambulance will work together with other NSW Health organisations to ensure the Government’s plan for improving the operations of NSW Ambulance is achieved. A copy of the report prepared by Mr O’Reilly is available on request.
Consultation on the 10 year strategic plan for Aeromedical (Rotary Wing) Retrieval Services continues.
Following an open and transparent process, contracts have now been signed for helicopter providers for the NSW Health Retrieval Network. The tender successfully engaged a mix of not-for-profit and commercial operators, chosen for their compliance with the contract, performance-based specifications, and value for money.
The new Network will be fully operational in 2017, allowing for an orderly transition of operations over the next two years.