Katanning, WA

Volunteer ambulance officers deliver precious cargo

The Katanning District Hospital has lost many of its specialist services in recent years, including maternity, which has meant increased work for St John Ambulance. Being 275 km south east of Perth, transferring patients to bigger hospitals for specialist medical services isn’t easy, with the closest maternity service 170 km away in Albany.

The St John sub-centre for the Katanning Shire has three ambulances and a volunteer base of 34 community members, dedicated to offering emergency and other medical assistance to residents and visitors. With the increase in workload, it was clear that the volunteer ambulance officers needed some additional training and support.

The birth of new skills

With a grant from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, specifically funded by the McCusker Foundation, the St John’s sub-centre purchased an Advanced Birth Simulator kit to be used as a training resource for volunteer ambulance officers.

The simulator provides hands-on training of all standard obstetrical procedures, including breech birth, normal birth, C-section delivery and many more. This particular kit is the best in the business and a welcome support tool for the volunteers.

All aboard for Albany

In 2012/13, the Katanning ambulance transported 510 maternity cases to Albany. Due to the travel distance, a number of babies have been delivered en-route to Albany. 

For the volunteer ambulance officers (and the mums-to-be!), the $965 grant has been put to good use, giving them more confidence for the long, and sometimes loud, ride to Albany.