SA Ambulance Service’s Destination Triage Tool

5 April 2017

SA Ambulance Service has introduced a pre-hospital Destination Triage Tool (DTT) to assist paramedics in getting patients to the hospital best suited for their condition, more quickly or faster.

Launched in January 2017, the DTT aims to minimise secondary patient transfers and support the management of patient flow through the hospital

SA Ambulance Service’s Intensive Care Paramedic Sarah Adamson said the DTT would create a streamlined approach to care.

“The DTT will benefit patients by allowing the paramedics, who have a great deal of expertise in knowing what’s wrong with the patient, to take them
to the right hospital,” Sarah said.

“Different hospitals have different levels of expertise and availability for patients, beds and types of medical conditions.

“And despite the fact it might be further away geographically from their home address, it’s actually going to advantage the patient for the care that they need.”

If it is determined that a patient needs to be transferred to another public hospital to receive the appropriate care, patients will not incur the cost for the transfer to another public hospital.

All SA Ambulance Service paramedics, career ambulance officers and volunteer officers are highly skilled and qualified, having undertaken extensive training and education, and are committed to providing the best care across South Australia, regardless of a patient’s location.

The DTT was developed in consultation with clinical specialists and Emergency Department staff from across the health system.

A patient’s experience: Hendrik


One morning I thought I could feel water dripping on me, and when I tried to put my arm around there, there was nothing there. The next minute, I went to stand up and I couldn’t. My wife walked in the door and was able to catch me when I went down.

When the ambulance arrived they thought I was having a stroke and they took me to hospital.

The paramedics told me that the Lyell McEwin Hospital would be the best hospital for me because they had the specialists there who could treat me.

My closest hospital is Modbury Hospital, but we went straight to the Lyell McEwin Hospital where there is a dedicated on-site stroke team.

I’m so thankful I was taken to the right hospital and received lifesaving treatment straight way.

You just have to trust in the paramedics and that they will take you to the right place and in my case that was the right thing to do. I’m really happy that they did otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here.

A patient's perspective on the new Destination Triage Tool

Building a responsive ambulance service for the future – Opinion: Jason Killens, SA Ambulance Service, Chief Executive Officer


SA Ambulance Service is integral to the success of a high performing health system and that is why in South Australia we are building a responsive ambulance service for the future.

Our highly trained and skilled ambulance clinicians will make a decision about the best hospital to take you to for the care you need.

It is our job to get you the right care, first time, every time and to help us do that our major hospitals have dedicated teams of specialists ready to respond to serious emergencies like stroke or heart attacks.

So when you dial triple zero (000), our clinicians will assess your condition and commence treatment over the phone while the sickest patients will always be taken directly to the hospital that’s best suited to their needs.

It might not be the one that is closest but it will be the one that is most appropriate for the patient’s condition and with more skilled paramedics and ambulances on the road, we’ll be with you all the way.