Australians misusing ambulance service

Richard Laycock 2 August 2017 NEWS

Two ambulances parked outside of emergency department at Box Hill

More than one in five adults call ambulances for non-life threatening issues.

Australians who are using ambulance services for non-life threatening issues could be wasting more than just paramedics time, according to research from

The survey found that 25% of Australians believed that Medicare would cover the cost of an ambulance.

However, only certain some governments (including Queensland and Tasmania) cover these costs. For everyone else, ambulance costs are either covered by your private health insurance or out-of-pocket. And ambulance trips don't come cheap.

For example, those without private health insurance in New South Wales or Victoria could pay up to $6,095 for emergency transport to hospital.

The research also found that 4% of Aussie adults admitted to calling an ambulance to skip waiting times at local hospitals. While 21% said that they could have either driven themselves to the hospital or gone to see a GP instead.

Looking at a state level, Queenslanders were most likely to call an ambulance for non-life threatening issues, with 24% saying they had done so. While the ACT were the least likely, with only 16%.

Currently, the emergency services receive a call for help every 28 seconds, with just 10% of those calls being for life threatening situations.

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