Brisbane is to get its own fleet of paramedics on bicycles after a successful trial on the Gold Coast saw a marked increase in response times.
The Queensland Ambulance Bicycle Response Team trial started in the busy Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach tourist zones in November as part of preparations for the Commonwealth Games.
Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) told The New Daily seven officers had been initially trained for the Gold Coast team, but there’s no details yet on how many will roll out in Brisbane around the CBD and Southbank areas.
“They’ve come to know the area very well – particularly during the recent Schoolies – and have been using malls, footpaths and bike paths to get to cases,” a QAS spokesman said.
“The team can also be dispatched to special events outside their normal area if required.”
Former Australian elite cyclist Jane McDonald was one of the paramedics in the initial trial and told the ABC officers had assisted in near-drownings, cardiac arrests, and anaphylaxis.
“I’m not sure that anyone quite predicted the success of the program,” Ms McDonald said.
Our response times on average are eight minutes quicker than an ambulance [vehicle].”
The paramedics carry cannulas, defibrillator, as well as burns, haemorrhage and airway kits.
“Within four minutes of the [anaphylaxis] patient making the phone call, we had a bicycle response team member arrive … which is astounding,” Ms McDonald said.
“We’re able to get our medical equipment through tight pedestrian areas, we’re able to respond quickly and we’re able to provide that life-saving intervention.”
The teams can give the ambulance vehicle a situation report and advise them whether to downgrade or upgrade the response.
Ms McDonald said it was a busy job, with a lot of kilometres clocked up in a day.
“It depends on the amount of work that we have but generally 20 kilometres for the day would be considered a quiet day on the bikes,” she said. “But our record so far has been about 63 [kilometres].”