ACEM urges the government and stakeholders across the health system to continue to work together on sustainable solutions that can get ambulances back on the road, provide all staff with safer working conditions and support more Tasmanians to get timely acute healthcare.
The new 60-minute transfer of care protocol pressures already overcrowded emergency departments (EDs) in Tasmania to take responsibility for patients within an hour of their arrival via ambulance.
ACEM Tasmania Chair Dr Juan Carlos Ascencio-Lane said, “We understand completely that the protocol has been designed to get ambulances back into communities, faster, and we support our paramedic colleagues in calling for solutions to get them back on the road to help people.”
“But ambulance ramping is a symptom of an entire health system being broken so it needs whole-of-health-system investment and solutions to fix. Band-Aid solutions like ‘ramping bans’ or forced patient transfers don’t solve the issue or help patients get better care – they simply move the problem further along."

"Instead of patients being stranded in an ambulance on the ramp, they get stranded in the emergency department. Too often, there are not enough ED staff to care for them and no free space or beds, so paramedics will be forced to drop sick and injured patients into waiting room chairs. We know this is dangerous for patients, and demoralising and stressful for all staff.”
“The onus to solve this complex whole-of-health-system issue cannot be forced onto our overwhelmed EDs and the people who work in them. ED staff are already stressed and depleted and there are already significant medical and nursing shortages. We are worried this will be the impetus for further departures from the field."
“We also know how much strain is being placed on our paramedic colleagues, so the government must focus on whole-of-system approaches to find sustainable solutions to return ambulances to the community.”
“Solutions to ambulance ramping must be found outside of the ED, and must focus on increasing capacity and improving integration in the broader health system, and in improving access and flow throughout our hospitals.”
“Tasmania needs at least 200 more safely staffed inpatient hospital beds added across the state, and increases and investments in primary care, aged care, and mental health. There must also be improvements to processes that assist patient flow out of EDs and into hospital wards, and out of hospital and into appropriate community-based care.”
To help more Tasmanians based outside the cities receive the acute care they need, ACEM has called on the Australian Government to urgently fund the Emergency Medicine Education and Training (EMET) program. EMET upskills healthcare workers in regional, rural and remote communities to care for their communities in an emergency.

ACEM is also advocating for the Australian Government to fund 24/7 security staff, integrated and appropriately trained to best support staff and patients, in every ED in Tasmania. New ACEM research revealed over 40% of ED staff frequently or often experienced alcohol-related physical threats, intimidation, harassment, or violence, and over 70% frequently or often experienced alcohol-related verbal or written abuse, threats, intimidation or harassment from patients.