Community Paramedics: A known player in a new role

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How can Community Paramedicine address our rural health workforce and service delivery challenges? Join us to hear how this model works and what barriers we need to overcome to implement it in regional Australia.

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Wednesday 01 December 2021 01:00 pm until Wednesday 01 December 2021 02:30 pm (Add to calendar)
Julia Henery
Presented by:
La Trobe Rural Health School
Type of Event:

With enormous pressure on the healthcare industry, rural communities face immense workforce challenges.  These challenges mean people in rural areas frequently have less reasonable access to health care and experience poorer health outcomes than their metropolitan counterparts.  COVID-19 means now, more than ever, radical solutions are needed. This is not a problem unique to Australia’s rural communities.  Countries around the world have adopted a Community Paramedicine healthcare model to address this problem.   Some regional Australians communities are beginning to rethink a paramedic’s role within regional healthcare.

Community Paramedics work alongside other health care workers such as nurses, social workers and allied health professionals to deliver primary healthcare in a client’s home or at a site more suited to them.  The model overwhelmingly results in decreased costs, increased access and a high level of satisfaction from patients and their care providers. Furthermore, the Community Paramedicine model alleviates pressure on the hospital system, reducing the number of people requiring assistance from an emergency department.

Did you know that there’s currently 21,000 paramedics registered through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), with approximately 5,000 – 8,000 of them not working in an emergency ambulance service?  Paramedics are an underutilised profession that rural communities can tap into.  We need to develop innovative models to encourage paramedics, organisations and governments to consider this role in the wide range of settings where paramedics practice.

Join us on Wednesday 1 December as we seek to learn more about how Community Paramedics could help alleviate rural health workforce and health consumer access challenges.  You’ll learn more about what a Community Paramedic’s role is and how organisations can implement these roles in healthcare settings.

This discussion aims to identify and overcome the hurdles that this new and innovative approach to healthcare might face.

Our panel features:


Brodie Thomas, La Trobe University Paramedicine alum, PhD student, currently practising as a Community Paramedic in rural Victoria
Brodie Thomas is a paramedic with Ambulance Victoria (AV) and is completing a PhD with La Trobe University. He was born and raised in the country town of Mildura, Victoria, studied paramedicine at La Trobe University in Bendigo and then returned to Mildura to work as a paramedic. Brodie is part of the team developing a Community Paramedicine model within Ambulance Victoria.  Paramedics in the Mildura region are regularly faced with unique challenges posed by rural communities, as they respond to some of the most remote and isolated areas in Victoria, often travelling in up to a 100km radius to small farming communities and national parks.

Brodie has a passion to conduct research that is both relevant and useful for all paramedics. Violence towards paramedics is the subject of Brodie’s current research project. By interviewing paramedics about occupational violence, he aims to bring context to the current data and discover areas to aid in the prevention and minimisation of this issue.

Associate Professor Evelien Spelten, Public health researcher with key research interests in Community Paramedicine
Associate Professor Spelten has a PhD in Occupational Psychology.  She has a long history of working in health care research and consultancy. The main focus of her work is on innovation in health care delivery and quality of care.  She is principal supervisor of seven PhD Students, has published 90+ articles, contributed to book chapters and received over $3 million in research funding.  In 2019 she was the recipient of the La Trobe University Vice Chancellor’s Award (2019) for her work on industry connection in research, collaborating with health care providers and consumers, and building research

Adjunct Associate Professor Alan Eade ASM,
Chief Paramedic Officer, Safer Care Victoria
Alan is a highly experienced and decorated intensive care paramedic, having worked clinically in Australia for more than two decades. He previously held the position of Chief Commissioner at St John Ambulance Australia, and is a past Director and Fellow of Paramedics Australasia.

Alan believes the delivery of great care is all about collaboration and cooperation between professions, with recognition that great care is always delivered through a multi-disciplinary partnership. He is focused on strengthening relationships between paramedic and other health professions in order to ensure integrated, best system performance is delivered for the best patient outcomes for all Victorians.

Simone Heald, CEO, Sunraysia Community Health Services
Simone is the CEO of Sunraysia Community Health Services and a passionate advocate for innovative thinking when it comes to health.  A trained midwife, Simone completed her MBA in 2015 and has extensive experience in the community and social health sector with a strong understanding of disadvantage and related issues.  Simone’s greatest passion is to constantly analyse current service delivery, to determine new and innovative ways to provide services to better meet the social and physical needs of our clients.  She is a member of La Trobe Mildura’s Regional Advisory Board and is the Deputy Chair of Regional Partnerships Mallee.  Sunraysia Community Health Services are currently in the process of adopting a Community Paramedicine model within their organisation.

Facilitated by:

Dr Wade Kelly, Executive Advisor Research Impact, La Trobe University

Wade is passionate about knowledge-sharing with a focus on how academics exchange knowledge with the public and communities.  He has been working with adult learners in public and private institutions for almost two decades in a variety of roles. As part of his mission to make learning more accessible to the general public, he has hosted Nerd Nite in three cities.

Wade is frequently engaged by various media outlets, including having his story from the Moth Grand Final 2018 aired across Australia by the ABC.



29th May 2022 6:48pm

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