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Tasmania’s first ever integrated medical and search and rescue helicopter service has resulted in far quicker response times, ultimately saving lives.

Ambulance Tasmania is delivering high-acuity care quicker than ever before – effectively bringing an emergency department to the scene. I met with aeromedical doctors recently who advised me lives have already been saved in Tasmania as a result.

This brand new lifesaving service is part of the Hodgman Liberal Government’s $125 million plan for ambulance services. It represents an enormous improvement on our previous operation, with dedicated flight paramedics and specialist doctors.

To support the service, the Government has invested $50 million in this Budget, which is focused on maintaining the momentum and investing in essential services.

This is on top of the $14 million already spent on building helipads at the state’s major hospitals – including the new pad at the Royal Hobart Hospital, along with $1.6 million for medical equipment, vehicle fleet and other infrastructure to support the service.

We have already doubled the state’s contracted helicopter capacity from one to two on standby, and importantly we also now have a helicopter crew based at the service.

Staffing for the service includes paramedics, specialist retrieval doctors, flight crew members, nurses and paediatric registrar doctors.

By having dedicated flight paramedics, it means an ambulance crew no longer has to be taken off the road when the emergency helicopter is called out, resulting in quicker response times and ensuring patients are receiving high-acuity care from the moment the helicopter lands, rather than having to wait until they arrive at hospital.

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