Calls to 000 are increasing faster than the population is growing. In 2015/16, while Victoria’s population grew by 1.7 per cent, requests for ambulances grew by 5.7 per cent.
While many of these calls are genuine, non-emergency calls take resources away from where they are needed.
The Victorian Government has launched a campaign to reduce the number of non-emergency calls made for ambulances, freeing up paramedics to respond to genuine time-critical, life-threatening situations.
What did we do?
BehaviourWorks was closely involved in the project, bringing together a range of relevant stakeholders and reviewing the evidence connected to behaviours around calling 000.
After conducting a literature and practice review to see how other governments around the world had dealt with the issue, we convened a Facilitated Forum Dialogue to bring together key stakeholders including Ambulance Victoria, The Victorian Department of Health and the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, marketing firms and behavioural experts.
The forum agreed the best way forward was to talk about the importance of Ambulance Victoria, it’s role in keeping Victorians safe and a broader message about the suite of services available.
Rather than a shock and awe style, it’s about shifting the social norm from ‘is there whenever you feel like calling’ to ‘only use this in an emergency’.
The central message
Victoria’s Better Health Channel website lists a range of immediate and life-threatening symptoms that constitute an emergency, such as extreme pain, numbness, burns, bleeding, serious accidents and unconsciousness.
So, if people are in doubt, they should call 000. If the paramedic they speak to decides it’s not a health emergency, they’ll be referred elsewhere. And if people know it’s not an emergency, they shouldn’t call 000 at all.