Ambulance Victoria demonstrates it is ready and waiting

Ambulance Victoria launches a powerful video campaign to assuage residents' concerns about the safety of medical facilities in its second lockdown

When evidence started to emerge that Victorians were reluctant to use their local health services, Ambulance Victoria knew it had to act to assuage concerns. The number of doctors’ appointments had dropped, demand for specialist appointments, including cancer care, had dipped and emergency phone lines were not as busy.

As the state’s largest emergency healthcare provider, it wanted to reassure residents – concerned by horror stories from overseas health services – that there was enough personal protection equipment for staff, that it was still safe to visit doctors’ surgeries and hospitals and travel in ambulances and that, if they called, they would receive an ambulance.

Indeed, even though Victoria was the only Australian state to face a second wave of Covid-19, peaking at 700 cases a day, its healthcare services remained operational throughout and was never at risk of becoming overwhelmed.

Although the outbreak was largely localised to Melbourne, it prompted one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, lasting almost four months, as the virus proved to be more deadly and widespread than before. The second wave ultimately accounted for around three quarters of Australia’s Covid cases and 90 per cent of deaths but throughout Ambulance Victoria was keen to demonstrate that the state’s health services remained open and secure.

Its video campaign We’re here and we’re ready addressed each of the public’s concerns directly, demonstrating that Ambulance Victoria would travel anywhere, had enormous available support from auxiliary services, such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Defence Force, Hatzolah, a volunteer service largely serving the Jewish community, life savers and the emergency services.

It also highlighted the resources available to Ambulance Victoria, with footage of pallets of PPE, as well as additional staff, including 300 final year paramedic students, and addressed changes to the way in which it operated to ensure that everybody remained safe.

Real-life employees of Ambulance Victoria played starring roles. While this demonstrated the authenticity of the approach, many faces were also familiar to Victorian residents as they regularly feature in Paramedics, a popular fly-on-the-wall documentary about Ambulance Victoria, which airs on Channel 9.

Typically, Ambulance Victoria’s posts are shared about 30 times on Facebook, reaching between 25,000 and 30,000 people. It set a target of 100 shares and a reach of 60,000.

In the event, the video was shared almost 600 times on Facebook alone and reached in excess of 140,000 people. It also proved popular on other social media channels.