MEMBER for MacKillop Nick McBride has labelled the extension of the community paramedic program as the electorate’s “first good win”.
The unique pilot program, which provides emergency and public health care across the upper Limestone Coast, will continue until the end of 2019.
Concerns about the program’s viability were raised ahead of the end of the program’s trial period, which was due in September.
The $862,000 a year program operates in Robe and Ceduna and allows a full-time paramedic to be on duty at all times in addition to two paramedics rostered on alternate weeks to provide generalist services.
The State Government will fund half of the project, while the remaining half has been committed to by the Federal Government following lobbying efforts by Barker MP Tony Pasin.
“Following concerns raised by Dr David Senior and the wider community, I sought, in cooperation with Nick McBride, to resolve this and I am pleased state and federal governments have continued to allow this program to operate,” he said.
Mr McBride said the program was a fantastic partnership between the SA Ambulance Service, Country Health SA and Country SA Primary Health Network.
“I think it is a wonderful move and I am very happy for Robe and all the surrounding towns that benefits from the paramedics,” he said.
“Of all the work we have done so far as an electoral office and taking all the calls, this is our first good win.”
Mr McBride made the announcement at a public meeting held in Robe last Wednesday night, which was attended by around 170 community members, including Labor MLC Clare Scriven.
“It is a great result for the community and there has been a real groundswell of support and publicity,” Ms Scriven said.
“I think that really encouraged people to get involved.”
While welcoming the one-year extension, Ms Scriven called on the State Government to permanently fund the program and further roll it out across the state.
“Clearly it works, clearly it is cost effective and it provides support to regional and rural general practitioners across the state,” she said.