Paramedics Plead to Keep 000 for Emergencies in New TV Ad

On the set of the new ad, which features MICA flight paramedic Darren Hodge (left), with an on-call nurse, GP and pharmacist.

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Victorians will be reminded to save triple-0 for genuine emergencies, and instead seek less-urgent health care elsewhere, when a new TV ad campaign hits the screens from today.

The State Government’s “Save lives: Save 000 for emergencies” campaign showcases the range of healthcare professionals who are qualified and available around-the-clock — such as on-call nurses, GPs and pharmacists — with the aim of diverting non-emergency cases away paramedics.

Acting Minister for Ambulance Services, Jenny Mikakos said the advertisement was important to ensure paramedics were available for serious and life-threatening emergencies.

“When an ambulance responds to a non-emergency, it takes paramedics away from time critical, life threatening emergencies,” Ms Mikakos said.

“When ambulances are free to answer emergency calls, response times improve.”

The Sunday Herald Sun has previously reported paramedics feeling that many Victorians had developed a sense of “entitlement” to calling an ambulance for minor health problems, resulting in already-stretched crews being sent to treat sore throats, blisters, haemorrhoids and insomnia.

After the campaign first launched last year — highlighting the story of a boy whose life was saved by a MICA paramedic — 7 per cent more Victorians (80 per cent) believed using an ambulance for a non-emergency was a misuse of the system.

“If Victorians feel unwell or have a minor injury, they should contact their local GP,” Ms Mikakos said.

“The can also see a pharmacist for questions on general health, or call NURSE-ON-CALL for immediate and expert advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”