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Rural and Regional residents take note - don't drive yourself to hospital

18 Nov 2009

dontdrivev2

We have an interesting challenge here at NSW Ambulance. It's come to our attention that generally speaking, people in rural and regional areas are more inclined to drive themselves to hospital when physically injured or unwell. However, people in our more densely populated areas such as cities, will often do the opposite - call for an ambulance when there is no medical need for our service.

What to do? To overcome this, we have rolled out two very different community awareness campaigns - one for our rural and regional residents and one for our city dwellers. Our rural and regional residents are reminded not to drive themselves to hospital in the event of a medical emergency, while our city dwellers are being reminded that an ambulance is not a taxi!

While our metropolitan campaign was rolled out last year and continues to reach our city residents, people living in rural and regional areas should now start to see posters in local community centres reminding them to call Triple Zero (000) in a medical emergency and ask for NSW Ambulance.

This rural and regional campaign was developed in response to some cases recently where members of rural communities have driven critically ill children, relatives or even themselves in a critical condition, to hospital rather than waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Time is not the only factor that should be considered. You can do more for the patient if you:

> Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance
> Don't move the patient inappropriately
> Stay calm
> Reassure the patient
> Keep the patient's airway open
> Stop life threatening bleeding.

Far too often paramedics hear rural patients say that they are wasting an ambulance's time but this is not the case. Paramedics are highly trained medical professionals who are able to provide advanced medical treatment that is required prior to and during transport. Sometimes every minute counts.

Here are some other tips to help prepare yourself in the event of a medical emergency:

  • Call Triple Zero (000) and do not hang up the phone. The call taker needs to gather important information to help the paramedics
  • Learn First Aid - these vital skills may help you save the life of a friend or relative
  • Keep a First Aid kit in your house and car
  • Teach your children how to call Triple Zero (000)
  • If possible, when you call for an ambulance, have someone wait outside your address to guide the ambulance to the correct location
  • Remember, in an Emergency call Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Compare the two different campaigns:

> Rural campaign poster