Matt Wilkinson-Stokes named as 2022 Westpac Future Leaders scholar

Matt Wilkinson-Stokes from the School of Health Sciences has been named as a 2022 Westpac Future Leaders scholar, providing him with a research scholarship opportunity to pursue an important project to improve the efficiency of the ambulance service.

“I’m hoping this project will lead to an improved experience for patients across the country”

His project, Improving the utilisation of paramedics in the primary-emergency sector intersection to meet contemporary community healthcare demands, will explore how paramedics fit in the intersection between emergency and primary care, and how the system can be reformed to safely reduce the number of patients who need to be transported to hospital emergency departments.

“Reducing the number of patients needing to be transported can ease the burden on staff at emergency departments, reduce ramping and improve response times for patients still waiting for urgent care in their homes,” he said.

Ambulance services have come under immense pressure in recent months, as high demand for urgent care coincided with hundreds of paramedics being placed into isolation due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Matt has witnessed the challenging yet deeply rewarding nature of the profession first-hand, having worked as a paramedic in Queensland since 2019. During this time, he has refocused his research towards addressing the more fundamental challenges affecting the healthcare system.

“I’ve become increasingly interested in systemic issues and trying to structure things to help as many patients as possible. I’m hoping this project will lead to an improved experience for patients across the country,” he said.

In addition to $120,000 to support his research activities, Matt will also undertake a transformative leadership program that will provide opportunities for networking and further skills development.