Tasmania Auditor-General hands down examination of state's ambulance service

Tasmania has the slowest ambulance response time compared to other states, an Auditor-General’s report has found.

And on a regional basis, the report found that response times were at their slowest in the North.

Auditor-General Rod Whitehead on Thursday tabled a report in state Parliament on ambulance services in the state.

The report analysed three areas: clinical outcomes, cost efficiencies and response times.

It used comparative data to other states and territories, and compared regions if data was available.

While the report found that response times remained slow, it noted that Ambulance Tasmania achieved similar or better clinical outcomes that the other states.

It said the state’s good cardiac survival rate showed that Ambulance Tasmania was effective in responding to cardiac-related emergencies. 

It questioned whether higher proportions of volunteers were impacting on mobilisation times in the North.

It made nine recommendations, including a more standardised measure of key performance indicators by Ambulance Tasmania that provide targets to define good and bad performance

Mr Whitehead said the state’s slow response times had been unearthed in a 2010 review of the service and that the government was reviewing the placement and location of ambulance branches to address the issue.

The report found there was disparity in overall response times across the North, West and South, suggesting that variations in the regional deployment of resources and use of volunteers may have contributed to this.

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said response times had remained stable over the five-year period examined under the report, despite a rise in demand for ambulance services.

He said the government had invested significantly in the ambulance service and had 20 more paramedics on the road compared to two years ago.

“Wherever we can, together with our additional investments in Ambulance Tasmania, we want to continuously improve and we will take onboard all of the positive recommendations that have been made,” he said.

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