SAAS set for funds boost

A plan to grow South Australia's ambulance workforce is set to provide a boost for rural areas of the state.

On Tuesday the state government announced the launch of a draft Rural Ambulance Workforce Plan as part of the $20 million Rural Health Workforce strategy.

It would focus on delivering better patient services by growing the workforce and its capabilities.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the Strategy will bolster ambulance services by attracting and retaining a range of other health professionals in rural areas.

"South Australia faces many challenges in recruiting, training and developing the health professionals and skilled volunteers needed to deliver ambulance services in regional areas," he said.

"We recognise the increasing demand for ambulance services in regional areas, and this draft plan will ensure that people in more remote areas have access to the best possible emergency care when and where they need it."

SA Ambulance Service, Chief Executive, David Place, said consultation sessions will be held in each regional Local Health Network.

It would provide a platform for the community to voice their opinions about the delivery of ambulance services in the area.

"It is extremely important for ambulance services and skilled volunteers to be available in each Local Health Network so communities can receive timely emergency medical care when they need it," Mr Place said.

"Through the plan, we want to ensure that the levels of ambulance services delivered to regional communities meet current needs, are flexible enough to change when the needs of communities change, and consider the needs and welfare of the paid and volunteer workforces.

"By engaging clinicians and stakeholders throughout regional SA, we hope to receive valuable feedback that will shape the final SAAS Rural Workforce Plan."

The state government previously committed $5.7m to rebuild or upgrade SAAS stations throughout the SA and close to $200m to improve rural hospital infrastructure.

Consultation on the draft plan will run through February and March, with clinicians and key stakeholders coming together to provide valuable feedback.