LNP promises paramedic bikers for Queensland
Motorcycle-riding paramedics, dubbed RAAMBOs, would ride south-east Queensland streets under an LNP government.
The policy, aimed at cutting response times in congested areas, was labelled misguided and potentially dangerous by the paramedics’ heavily pro-Labor union but cautiously welcomed by a leading emergency services researcher.
It would see the bikes return to the state for the first time since a trial on the Gold Coast was discontinued in the early 2000s and follow on from the recent introduction of bicycle paramedics for the Commonwealth Games.
Seven bikes and 12 trained paramedics would be included in the initial rollout promised by mid-2018, with the possibility of a statewide rollout to follow.
“These motorcycle paramedics will be ready to respond to any emergency with similar equipment to that carried in ambulances, including defibrillators for cardiac arrests,” LNP leader Tim Nicholls said.
“Mobile paramedics play a very important role in gaining vital minutes for patients where crippling traffic congestion and access are problems.
“This dedicated unit will cut response times and help save lives in some of our busiest regions.”
Labor was yet to commit any extra funding towards the Queensland Ambulance Service in the election campaign.
A spokesman for the United Voice union, which had donated more than $300,000 to the ALP by early October, welcomed the extra resources but said they would be better directed toward traditional ambulances.
“It might be a little bit faster but there’s a huge risk associated with us (riding bikes),” he said.
“I guess the big difference between us and say a police officer on a motorbike is the amount of gear that we carry is significantly higher and then obviously trying to maintain the fairly significant training course just to ride a motorcycle lights and sirens through trucks and traffic.”
LNP health spokesman John-Paul Langbroek said motorcycle paramedics had been “extremely successful” in New South Wales, Victoria, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
Central Queensland University professor Brian Maguire said there was no research on the safety impacts of motorcycle paramedics but they could improve response times in congested areas.
Any implementation should be evaluated, he said.
The new paramedics would be called Rapid Action Ambulance Mobile Bike Officers (RAAMBOs)