Don’t forget our paramedics in this crisis

State Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle has today raised the question, that given the COVID-19 pandemic cases are right across Australia and Queensland, how will the Sunshine Coast’s paramedics cope with the increased risks they face and continue to provide the excellent service they do.

“We have rightly heard much in relation to Queensland Health concerning the health risks our doctors, nurses and Private and Public hospitals will face, but not a great deal in relation to how paramedics are going to be affected or cope with COVID-19,” Mr McArdle said.

“It is important we remember the role paramedics will have during the pandemic right here on the Sunshine Coast given our age demographic and people who have co-morbidities.

“In almost every bulletin from here, the U.S., Italy, Spain and the U.K. ambulances and paramedics feature prominently but we hear very little about how they are coping.

“We can expect paramedics to be called to many homes in the weeks to come and their job will be to make an assessment of the patient and take them to a hospital. They will be exposed from any number of sources and it is important to remember that.

“What I see is that we haven’t considered, a number of these paramedics will contract COVID-19. In addition this will cause other paramedics to self-isolate for 14 days. Some may already be isolating due to coming back from overseas holidays.

“In those circumstances who is going to replace them? We know we need two paramedics per vehicle – one to drive the vehicle and one in the back with the patient. As the number of paramedics available decline, the ability to put vehicles on the road will decrease, let alone any increase in the number of vehicles.

“I have therefore written to the Commissioner of Queensland Ambulance Service Russell Bowles asking for clarification as to how this crucial piece of the puzzle will fit with planning to protect us and treat sufferers of COVID-19. Equally important, how will paramedics be protected in this very critical time,” Mr McArdle concluded.