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Learning from the Past is Critical: The Birth of Critical Care Paramedics in NSW

Cameron Edgar
NSW Ambulance Helicopters, Bankstown Airport, Australia



Superintendent Cameron Edgar is the Zone Manager for the NSW Ambulance Rescue Helicopters. His role sees him managing the day-to-day operations of ambulance rescue helicopters and their medical teams responding to remote areas, canyons, cliff, cave and aquatic search and rescue missions. Cameron has been a paramedic for 23 years and is a Critical Care Helicopter Paramedic and member of the NSW Ambulance Special Casualty Access Team. Cameron has a strong interest in systems that focus on human factors to achieve high quality outcomes and safety.


When you joined the ambulance service, your goal was to work on a helicopter. Now, you find yourself an Intensive Care Paramedic who has just been successful in getting a job on a medical rescue helicopter. With 15 years experience, including ground-based rescue training, you know you're ready.

You know that your new role will involve working with doctors, not other paramedics, using equipment you have never used before, and performing skills you have never done before. All done in the most complex of environments, with the sickest of patients.

How does road-based Paramedic clinical practice differ from Aeromedical Paramedic clinical practice?

Between 2010 and 2015, the NSW aeromedical retrieval service conducted an in depth review to identify the needs of patients, doctors and paramedics working in the aeromedical setting, and through robust stakeholder engagement, developed the position of Critical Care Paramedic (Aeromedical).

This presentation discusses the journey from past to present, that lead to the birth of a new level of Paramedic and the training and governance systems required to support their truly unique practice.



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