Universal access to ambulance does not increase overall demand for ambulance services in Queensland, Australia

Tippett, Vivienne C., Toloo, Ghasem (Sam), Eeles, David, Ting, Joseph Y.S., Aitken, Peter H., and Fitzgerald, Gerald J. (2013) Universal access to ambulance does not increase overall demand for ambulance services in Queensland, Australia. Australian Health Review, 37 (1). pp. 121-126.

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Abstract

Objective: To determine the impact of the introduction of universal access to ambulance services via the implementation of the Community Ambulance Cover (CAC) program in Queensland in 2003-04.

Method: The study involved a 10-year (2000-01 to 2009-10) retrospective analysis of routinely collected data reported by the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) and by the Council of Ambulance Authorities. The data were analysed for the impact of policy changes that resulted in universal access to ambulance services in Queensland.

Results: QAS is a statewide, publically funded ambulance service. In Queensland, ambulance utilisation rate (AUR) per 1000 persons grew by 41% over the decade or 3.9% per annum (10-year mean = 149.8, 95% CI: 137.3-162.3). The AUR mean after CAC was significantly higher for urgent incidents than for non-urgent ones. However projection modelling demonstrates that URs after the introduction of CAC were significantly lower than the projected utilisation for the same period.

Conclusions: The introduction of universal access under the Community Ambulance Cover program in Queensland has not had any significant independent long-term impact on demand overall. There has been a reduction in the long-term growth rate, which may have been contributed to by an 'appropriate use' public awareness program.

Item ID: 28715
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1449-8944
Funders: Queensland Ambulance Service
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2013 05:29
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110305 Emergency Medicine @ 45%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111711 Health Information Systems (incl Surveillance) @ 35%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920208 Health Inequalities @ 100%
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