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Ambulance tracking service launched

ambulance
Photo: QAS' online ambulance availability map
Queenslanders can now pinpoint almost exactly where their paramedics and ambulances are, all at the click of a button.

In an Australian first, the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has launched an online availability map in a bid to show the public real time tracking of the state’s fleet of more than 1000 ambulances.

The tracking tool, running on the QAS website via Facebook and Twitter, displays ambulance locations in the far northern, northern, central, north coast, Brisbane, south eastern and south western regions of the state.

Directly linked to the Emergency Services Computer Aided Dispatch system, it shows the total number of vehicles available, and maps the location of frontline operational response vehicles and supervisor response vehicles.

It also details the number of busy vehicles as well as how many are performing patient handovers at hospitals but doesn’t display those vehicles on the map due to patient confidentiality.

The tracking tool uses Integrated Real-Time Operational Ambulance Management (iROAM) software, developed by QAS and first launched at the service three years ago.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the QAS is embracing technology and social media for the benefit of the public and better workforce management.

“Government should be open and accountable, and now for the first time anyone can see exactly how many ambulances are available at a given time across the state,” he said in a statement.

“Families want to know that if they have an emergency, an ambulance will be available and this is now possible.

“If there is pressure on the ambulance service, that information will also be freely available,” he added.

“We promised at the election to restore accountability and we also promised to revitalise frontline services.”

QAS commissioner Russell Bowles said the tracking tool should also put an end to any confusion around ambulance availability.

“One of the biggest misconceptions is that when there are ambulances dropping patients at a hospital, there are none available to respond to other emergencies,” he said.

“Use of the QAS social media stream has more than doubled in the past six months. We can use this tool to dispel some of the myths.”

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Karen Keast

Karen Keast is a freelance health journalist who writes news and feature articles for HealthTimes.

Karen regularly writes for some of Australia’s leading health news websites and magazines.  In a media career spanning 20 years, Karen has worked as a senior journalist in newspapers and television. She has covered the grind of daily news and worked as a politics reporter at countless state and federal elections.

Since venturing into freelance writing five years ago, Karen has found her niche in writing about the health sector for editors, businesses and corporations.

Karen has interviewed the heads of peak health organisations in Australia and overseas, and written hundreds of news and feature articles covering the dedicated work of health professionals who tread the corridors of hospitals and health services, universities, aged care facilities and practices, day in and day out.

Follow Karen Keast on Twitter @stylemywords