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The optimal location of ambulance station in a regional area: The case of Mackay
conference contributionposted on 25.05.2018, 00:00 by Michael Dzator, J Dzator
The provision of efficient and effective emergency service such as ambulance service is a task faced by most cities and major regional centres. The emergency medical service is very necessary and plays a vital role in reducing death or serious complication from life threatening health incident. Over the years, there have been several major initiatives to improve the access to and quality of emergency care in Queensland. In 2009-2010, public hospital Emergency Departments (ED) in Australia covered about 7.4 million emergency cases of which there were over 3 million ambulance incidents. Mackay is a regional city in Queensland, Australia’s east coast. The Mackay Metropolitan which comprises of 24 suburbs is prone to natural disasters such as cyclones and flood. The Mackay region depends highly on emergency services especially during disasters. The current ambulance locations in the Mackay Local Ambulance Service Network (LASN) are significantly underperforming with regard to not meeting the target response time according to Queensland 2014 ambulance report. Early response to emergency calls is important and crucial for human survival. The response time is a function of the distance between the emergency facility and emergency demand. It is therefore important to locate emergency facility such that the distance to be travelled by an ambulance in response to emergency call is minimized. The p-median problem finds the location of p facilities to minimize the demand weighted average or total distance between demand or population and their closest facility. The objective of this study is to discuss the importance of the application of the p-median model to locate emergency stations. We compare existing ambulance stations with the optimal solutions proposed by the p-median location models in the Mackay region. We determine the cost of assessing the facilities that are located using the p-median model and showed the cost saving of the model when optimal locations are compared with locations when facilities are added to the existing ambulance locations optimally.