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Ambulance Victoria boss explains ‘worst case scenario’ plan for paramedics

Defence force personnel are being sent to Victoria to help paramedics cope with the coronavirus pandemic, but the Ambulance Victoria boss is hoping they’ll never be utilised.

Under the plan, ADF personnel would go out on the road with paramedics and provide assistance through tasks including using stretchers and driving, if too many paramedics come in contact with coronavirus.

Ambulance Victoria CEO, Tony Walker, says ADF staff may be seen on the road with paramedics as early as next week, but that doesn’t mean the ‘worst case scenario’ plan has been activated.

“We’ll start some on-boarding over the next week or two … so people might see defence force personnel working with our paramedics,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“It’s been part of our plans for some time, as part of our worst case scenario.

“I’m hoping we won’t have to ever get to the point of exercising this.”

Mr Walker said the strategy is a safeguard in case Melbourne reaches a situation like the one seen in many overseas cities.

“If we get to a point where we have, for example, 30 or 40 per cent of our workforce off because of furlough or illness, and we see significant increase in demand, we’ve got a number of agencies in play to assist us,” he said.

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