Ambulance upgrades

Coming back to work after three years off due to a manual handling injury sustained at work, Moe based paramedic Dave Neyland was concerned he wouldn’t be back for long.

“I’ve come back from three years on sick leave and work cover and now we’ve got these power lift hydraulic stretchers, which is virtually no lift which is fantastic,” Mr Neyland said.

“It has been a huge relief for me. I feel I can do another 10 or 15 years now as a paramedic. “

The state-of-the-art hydraulic stretchers have been installed in every Ambulance Victoria vehicle in the state and allow paramedics to raise, lower and unload patients using a touch finger control.

“In the last three years, 60 per cent of workplace injuries have been from lifting and this will take away a fair portion of that,” Mr Neyland said.

“I’ve seen a lot of young paramedics go out injured and not come back.

“(The powered stretchers) are going to make a huge difference.”

During a visit to Moe Ambulance branch, State Ambulance Services Minister Jill Hennessy said more than 600 of the modern stretchers had been installed across the state.

“Our paramedics get up each and every single day and save the lives of Victorians, looking after their physical and mental health is a core priority for government,” Ms Hennessy said.

“Our paramedics deserve nothing less.”

She said by looking after paramedics, emergency patients would benefit from better care.

“We know there is a really long term effect for people that are bending and lifting,” Ms Hennessey said.

“They can get injured instantly or there can be a long term impact from work that they’re doing.

“We’ve got to look after their backs, we’ve got to make sure the bend-lift-injuries are reduced.”

According to the state government, the new stretchers are already making a difference with stretcher-related back injuries falling from 30 to 12 in just a year and are expected to fall further now that the roll out to all vehicles is complete.