IT seems a lot of people ask paramedics how they’ll get home after arriving at hospital in an ambulance.
“If you’re even thinking that then you probably don’t need to go to hospital,” Orange paramedic Matthew Pickering said.
His comments come as an increasing number of people think they’ll be able to “jump the queue” in the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) if they arrive by ambulance.
However, Mr Pickering said it simply did not work that way.
“The ED is primarily designed for people with life threatening illness or injury, it’s not really a place for people that could be treated by a GP,” he said.
Upon arrival at Orange Base Hospital each patient is triaged and those with the most serious illnesses or injuries are treated first.
Orange Ambulance Station only has one crew on a night shift, and having recently completed a night shift Mr Pickering said there was only one call that truly required an ambulance to take them to hospital.
“It delays our response time and stretches our resources,” he said.
However, he said if you have serious concerns about your health you should always call an ambulance.
“People will generally know when things are life threatening or an emergency,” he said.
It is a claim backed up by Orange Base Hospital ED nursing unit manager Meg O’Brien.
She said it did not matter how people arrived at the department, everyone’s illness or injury was triaged the same way.
She said recently-introduced procedures allowed for less-serious cases to be treated by a clinical initiatives nurse, nurse practitioner or physiotherapist.
She said these specialists can also help to provide preliminary treatment for more serious cases, which may give people the perception of quicker treatment.
“Seeing people brought in earlier doesn’t mean they’re being seen by a doctor,” she said.
Ms O’Brien said people should always come to the hospital or call an ambulance if they are having difficulties with their airways, breathing or circulation.