Universal access to ambulance does not increase overall demand for ambulance services in Queensland, Australia

Tippett, Vivienne C., Toloo, Ghasem (Sam), Eeles, David, Ting, Joseph Y. S., Aitken, Peter J., & FitzGerald, Gerard J. (2012) Universal access to ambulance does not increase overall demand for ambulance services in Queensland, Australia. Australian Health Review, 37(1), pp. 121-126.

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Objective. To determine the impact of the introduction of universal access to ambulance services via the implementation of the Community Ambulance Cover (CAC) program in Queensland in 2003–04.

Method. The study involved a 10-year (2000–01 to 2009–10) retrospective analysis of routinely collected data reported by the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and by the Council of Ambulance Authorities. The data were analysed for the impact of policy changes that resulted in universal access to ambulance services in Queensland.

Results. QASis a statewide, publically funded ambulance service. In Queensland, ambulance utilisation rate (AUR)per 1000 persons grew by 41% over the decade or 3.9% per annum (10-year mean = 149.8, 95% CI: 137.3–162.3). The AUR mean after CAC was significantly higher for urgent incidents than for non-urgent ones. However projection modelling demonstrates that URs after the introduction of CAC were significantly lower than the projected utilisation for the same period.

Conclusions. The introduction of universal access under the Community Ambulance Cover program in Queensland has not had any significant independent long-term impact on demand overall. There has been a reduction in the long-term growth rate, which may have been contributed to by an ‘appropriate use’ public awareness program.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 55384
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Prehospital service, Ambulance funding, Projection, Modelling, Commmunity Ambulance Cover
DOI: 10.1071/AH12141
ISSN: 0156-5788
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
Deposited On: 10 Dec 2012 23:19
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2015 04:01

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