Volunteers have been operating for many years in NSW Ambulance and their role in communities is vital. Volunteer ambulance officers, peer support officers, chaplains, consumer representatives and staff donate their time every day and make a very real and enduring difference to the quality of care we deliver.
- Volunteers are community spirited people who contribute personal effort, time and skill to enable NSW Ambulance to extend the availability of services to those in isolated communities. Like our workforce volunteer ambulance officers come from different occupations, educational backgrounds and life experiences. The ongoing success of volunteer services in NSW demonstrates that small communities are prepared to engage in partnerships with NSW Ambulance to take ownership and accept responsibility for providing a community operated ambulance service in areas with limited or non existing ambulance resources.
The role of volunteers will continue to evolve to allow NSW Ambulance to provide effective service delivery in line with increasing chronic disease, poor access, health inequalities and indigenous groups in rural and remote communities. Our volunteers operate under Ambulance standard operating policies and procedures, health guidelines and legislation.
There are two models of NSW Ambulance volunteers:
- Volunteers Ambulance Officers are accredited, trained and administered under the direct jurisdiction of NSW Ambulance. Volunteers may be attached to a station, a hospital or operate through an established volunteer station with assistance from neighbouring stations. Volunteers ambulance officers respond in an ambulance vehicles and can transport patients.
- Community First Responders are accredited and operate under NSW Ambulance governance and training. The majority of volunteers respond under a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the State Emergency Service, the Rural Fire Service, or the NSW Fire Brigades. Community first responders do not operate from a NSW Ambulance or health facility, do not have a ambulance vehicle and do not transport patients.
- NSW Ambulance has more than 100 peer support officers who are operational staff providing support, out-of-hours on most occasions, to colleagues who may be affected by exposure to traumatic workplace incidents.
- NSW Ambulance has more than 20 volunteer uniformed ambulance chaplains who are available to provide confidential and individual spiritual counselling, pastoral care and assistance to employees, patients and their families following a traumatic incident, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The team of chaplains is guided by a permanent senior chaplain who co-ordinates their role and engages new volunteer chaplains.
- Consumer representatives are members of the community who provide valuable feedback on ambulance projects and ensures the public are consulted on ambulance initiatives.
- NSW Ambulance staff also donate their personal time to deliver community education programs and represent us by promoting important health messages at community events, station open days and parades.
- The Ambulance Band was commissioned in 1985, the band has performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 at the opening of Parramatta Stadium, graduation ceremonies, St John investitures at Government House, NSW Ministry of Health functions and special events in metropolitan Sydney and rural NSW.
We thank all volunteers for their invaluable contribution to NSW Ambulance.