Belmont, Perth,

St John Multi Transfer Vehicle to reduce costs for sick and elderly

St John Ambulance has launched its Multi Transfer Vehicle, an Australia-first initiative in non-emergency patient transfer.

The custom-made vehicle allows the daily return transfer of 10 patients between WA’s South West region to hospitals and medical clinics in the Perth metropolitan area. The Multi Transfer Vehicle has the capacity to transport a combination of stretchers, wheelchairs and ambulant patients.

Previously, the transfer of patients from hospital to hospital or nursing home to hospital was ad hoc and required two ambulance officers and an ambulance per patient.

The vehicle will have the same medical equipment and comfort standards as a single ambulance with a qualified paramedic and a patient transport officer travelling in the main area with patients to monitor conditions and provide assistance if required. The Multi Transfer Vehicle will be driven by a St John patient transport officer.

St John Ambulance Service Director Iain Langridge said St John had recognised demand for a regular, simplified and larger scale transport service from the South West to Perth.

“The South West is a growing region and, combined with Western Australia’s aging population, it contains a large number of medical and aged care facilities,” Mr Langridge said.

“Many residents and patients require regular trips to Perth for important medical appointments and ongoing Specialist treatment.

“The Multi Transfer Vehicle will allow medical and aged care facilities to arrange transfer with certainty and at scheduled times.

“The location of the new Fiona Stanley Hospital and St John of God in Murdoch in the same area also presented an opportunity, with travel times from the South West quicker than they were in the past.”

A new online system will make booking easier and the increase in patients per journey will provide cost savings for users, care facilities and insurance providers.

The average cost of a return transfer from Bunbury to Perth is almost halved through use of the new vehicle which makes it the most reliable cost-effective solution to non-emergency patient transfers between the South West and Perth.

Mr Langridge said he expected patients from Bunbury, Capel, Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Augusta, Nannup and Donnybrook to use the service.

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