AT READY: CQ Ambulance senior operations supervisor Brad Meirs is looking forward to stepping into the Gladstone watchhouse.
AT READY: CQ Ambulance senior operations supervisor Brad Meirs is looking forward to stepping into the Gladstone watchhouse. Campbell Gellie

Ambos start duty in police watchhouses

AMBULANCE officers have the "right knowledge" to make a big difference in watchhouses.

That is, according to Central Queensland Ambulance senior operations supervisor Brad Meirs, in response to the launch of a new State Government strategy to combat alcohol-fuelled injuries.

Gladstone is one of 17 cities to trial a strategy announced on Saturday that would see detainees monitored and treated by paramedics or a nurse.

Central Queensland Ambulance senior operations supervisor Brad Meirs said having paramedics in watchhouses would not affect the normal operations of the ambulance service, but could make a big differences at local hospitals.

"We assume we will see patients with drug and alcohol related trauma," he said.

"Existing conditions can be masked by drugs and there is no way for a police officer to distinguish between the two.

"This person in the watchhouse has been funded through the state and it won't have any effect on response calls.

"Realistically speaking we can't see an issue, and it will probably reduce the number of patients admitted to Queensland Hospitals."

Local resident Hunter Pincham said the change was a smart idea.

"It's pretty close to where the clubs are and depending how critical the issue is that extra minute or two might be very important," he said.

"Some people might not think it's good to have an Ambo there for drunken people but that person might end up making a difference."

Shane Wilson also agreed it was a good idea.

"It's a good idea. It saves them a big rush at the hospital," he said.

The program will cost $800,000 in 2014-15 and will have an annual full year cost of $1.6 million.



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