In 2011, the Minister for Health requested that the Director General conduct an independent strategic review of NSW Ambulance.
The review has proceeded in two interrelated stages:
- examination of the operational effectiveness, financing and governance of the NSW Ambulance
- review of Aeromedical (Rotary Wing) Retrieval Services and the development of a 10 year strategic plan.
On 18 December 2012, the Minister for Health released the Reform Plan for NSW Ambulance, which addressed the first part of the Review. A copy of the Plan, which is currently being implemented, is now available.
A modern new helicopter network
On 17 July 2013, the Minister for Health released the Reform Plan for Aeromedical (Rotary Wing) Retrieval Services in NSW, which addresses the second part of the Review. The Plan was developed following a period of extensive stakeholder consultation on the report and recommendations prepared by Ernst & Young and further consultation with clinicians and helicopter operators supported by aviation expertise.
The new helicopter network
- patients will have faster care with reduced retrieval times
- having staff on the base means take-off will be between 15 and 30 minutes quicker
- bases that operate 24 hrs a day / 7 days a week
- doctors available for every flight
- more retrieval doctors (11.5 FTE)
- more retrieval paramedics (18 FTE)
- more paramedics available for on road ambulances
- regional health strengthened - retrieval to new and upgraded facilities
- new emergency retrieval ambulance located on the Newcastle base
- $151.2M investment including $39.1M new funding over the next three years
- single Retrieval Network coordination phone line
- procurement fast tracked so that operators can plan ahead
- better value for the taxpayer
NSW Health Retrieval Network
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 three years.