Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Delivering a healthy WA - ambulance cover for seniors

    7/04/2005 12:00 AM

    The State Government will provide free ambulance travel for aged pensioners and a 50 per cent concession for other seniors aged 65 and over from July 1 this year.

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said the Government’s $14million-a-year commitment would ensure the State’s 320,000 senior citizens continued to receive free or subsidised ambulance services after HBF and the St John Ambulance Benefit Fund indicated they were withdrawing non-urgent ambulance cover.

    “The Gallop Government made a promise to all seniors during the election campaign that we would ensure they were not disadvantaged by the withdrawal of ambulance cover by the insurers,” Mr McGinty said.

    “We are committed to meeting the needs of those people who are unable to provide for themselves in their twilight years.”

    More than 60,000 senior citizens are expected to need an ambulance in 2005-06.

    Although St John Ambulance fees are among the lowest in the nation, an ambulance trip can cost between $271 and $499.

    As well as well as emergency cases, ambulances will be used for elderly patients with conditions including:
    • people who are confused;
    • people who require a stretcher or oxygen; and
    • people who need the skills of an ambulance officer.
    In all other cases, less costly alternatives to ambulances, such as Patient Transport Vehicles or disabled taxis, will be used for the safe transport of aged pensioners and seniors.

    Mr McGinty said the Government and St John Ambulance would develop protocols to cover the types of vehicles deployed for non-emergencies such as patients attending rehabilitation therapy or people with debilitating conditions attending outpatient services such as renal dialysis or chemotherapy.

    “This commitment will give peace of mind to our seniors and ensure that St John Ambulance continues to provide the high level of service to the people of Western Australia,” the Minister said.

    Last year the State Government provided an extra $34.7million to St John’s to put more ambulances on the road and employ additional ambulance officers and communications staff.

    Mr McGinty said the 40 per cent funding boost under a new five-year contract with St John Ambulance would give Western Australians better access to emergency care.

    “The Gallop Government is improving the quality of health services to all Western Australians whatever their age, wherever they live,” he said.

    Minister's office: 9220 5000