Nagambie gets full-time paramedic
STRATHBOGIE Shire residents will gain from the state budget announced last week. Among funding announced was the $950,000 to Euroa Secondary College for upgrades to the Benalla and Wangaratta hospitals, and the appointment of a full time paramedic for Nagambie. Announcing the Nagambie win last Thursday, Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) said a community push to gain at least one full time paramedic had been taken notice of by politicians.
“The minister has heard and taken notice and made the decision the time is right to increase this service in Nagambie,” Ms Symes said. “It is fantastic to see Nagambie get its one permanent ambulance and paramedic for this town. “This is a community that has been calling for this for some time – a very dedicated community; a lot of people that have been very passionate about this and it is very pleasing to see it has been included in the budget on Tuesday,” Ms Symes said. “What we’ve had in place is ATO (ambulance transport officer) support and a paramedic part time. “Nagambie is obviously not a large town in terms of population but swells at weekends and particularly around holiday periods . “There has been a dedicated paramedic during the peak period but that is now going to be extended to 12 months of the year.
“This was a community led campaign and also information from the paramedic who has been here, Craig Hazelwood, his experiences and what he has been doing on the ground has informed the minister enough to make this decision. “This isn’t just about driving an ambulance to acute cases, it is about community education, getting out and about, talking to your men’s shed, aged care facilities and really helping people prevent the need to call an ambulance and going to hospitals. “So it has been a really good outcome for Nagambie.”
The announcement was welcomed by local Mica Paramedics, Craig Hazelwood and relieving paramedic Wayne Brooks who are currently stationed at Nagambie. Mr Hazelwood has been a ‘part time’ paramedic at Nagambie for a little more than one year but is thrilled that a full time appointment has been made. “We operate out of a small, old home at present and I usually work four days on, four days off with callouts often occurring on my days off,” he said. “At other times paramedics and ambulances have to come from Seymour or Shepparton. “With a growing population and the boost during summer periods the demand for a full time paramedic and ambulance service has been needed for some time. “And plans are in the pipeline for a new ambulance station once the new industrial estate is opened up – but that is down the track.” Ms Symes congratulated the community in their support of the ambulance service, having for years run a community emergency response team and then the ATO ambulance support service for the paramedics.