Ceduna’s Community Paramedic program has been offered a reprieve after the state government announced on Thursday funding had been extended.
The program was at risk of stopping at the end of September with funding set to be cut, which led to Ceduna mayor Allan Suter and Member for Flinders Peter Treloar contacting Minister for Health Stephen Wade and asking the funding remain to keep the program running.
The $862,000 program, introduced in Ceduna and Robe in 2015, will now continue until the end of 2019.
SA Ambulance Service and Country Heath SA Local Health Network have joined forces with the Country SA PHN (Primary Health Network) to fund five community paramedics based in the two towns.
The paramedics operate as part of the local health services, support preventative care initiatives and provide clinical support to ambulance crews.
Mr Suter said he was “delighted” that the program will continue.
“It is magnificent and I thank the Minister for recognising the importance of the funding,” he said.
“We really appreciate it as this is a vital program.”
Mr Wade said the program was testament to what could be achieved with various organisations working together.
“The program is designed to connect local patients to the most suitable community health care option for their unique circumstances, while also ensuring these small communities have access to emergency treatment when required.”
Country SA PHN chief executive officer Kim Hosking said community paramedics provided preventative health screening, pre-hospital health care and education tailored to the needs of local communities.
“In collaboration with the patient’s GP, community paramedics will continue to focus on treating patients in their own homes to prevent medical conditions from developing into situations that require urgent medical attention.”
SA Ambulance Service interim chief executive officer David Place said the agreement would be welcome news for the five community paramedics, as well as the local community.
“We have five intensive care paramedics already living in the community,” he said.
“They have built some fantastic relationships and are working closely with local health care professionals to coordinate community care options that link vulnerable people living in the community with appropriate care teams.”
Country Health SA LHN chief executive officer Maree Geraghty said Country Health SA was delighted to continue supporting this unique program.
“We are delighted to support this program, which aims to enhance local health service delivery to improve the health of residents living in regional communities in South Australia,” she said.
“The program is designed to be flexible so that care can be tailored within the local context and increase the number of patients connected to the most suitable community health care option for their unique circumstances.”
The 15-month funding extension ensures continuity for the Ceduna and Robe communities as the governance of SA Health shifts to health board governance.