27 September 2023

New health agenda for next emergency

Start the conversation

The State Government has committed itself to implementing a strategic reform agenda to ensure the community is better prepared for the next major public health emergency.

Following two reviews from the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM), the Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes said Victoria had accepted all the findings and recommendations of both the Review of Victoria’s Emergency Ambulance Call Answer Performance and the Review into Preparedness for Major Public Health Emergencies including Pandemics.

“Both reviews provide critical insights into our preparedness for and response to the COVID-19 pandemic and opportunities for continuous improvement,” Ms Symes said, “something we are working hard to deliver alongside our healthcare and emergency services workers every single day.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented in its scale and duration and impacted the lives of and livelihoods of every single Victorian,” she said.

“In responding to these experiences and subsequent reviews, we will have a clear, coordinated and strategic reform agenda and be better prepared for our next major public health emergency, whatever form that may take.”

Ms Symes said IGEM’s review into major public health emergency made seven recommendations, 41 findings and 30 observations that pointed to areas for sector-wide improvement.

She said the recommendations included enhancing support for people most at risk; clarifying roles and responsibilities; abolishing classes of emergencies; strengthening consequence management; improving workforce planning; and building leadership and workforce capability.

She said the Inspector’s ambulance call answer review found systemic issues that prevented the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) from effectively scaling to meet unparalleled demand in late 2021.

She said that in that case IGEM made 42 findings, nine observations and eight recommendations, including the delivery of a more sustainable funding model, strengthening collaboration and coordination, and improving community understanding of Triple Zero.

“Work on many of these recommendations is already well underway to immediately improve ESTA’s call-taking performance,” Ms Symes said.

“ESTA has already brought on more than 150 new call-takers and dispatchers, provided more training, more flexible rosters, more mental health support for staff and created a surge pool of call-takers for periods of high demand.”

The State’s six-page response to both Reviews can be accessed at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.