Australia’s emergency medical assistance team, ‘AUSMAT’, is now one of only a few World Health Organization (WHO) globally-verified Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) teams in the world.

This comes after AUSMAT was verified as meeting international standards. The WHO has recommended that AUSMAT be globally classified as a surgical field hospital (EMT Type 2). The field hospital has the capacity to provide treatment for a minimum of 20 patients (including surgical treatment) and 100 outpatients per day.

"AUSMAT is a critical component of Australia’s emergency response capabilities, strengthening our ability to respond to emergencies, both within Australia and internationally," Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, said today.

"I congratulate the extended AUSMAT community and the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) in Darwin for their hard work and commitment in supporting Australia’s EMT capability to meet the WHO standards.

"I also thank the NCCTRC for hosting the WHO Verification Team, comprised of regional global verifiers from the Philippines, Switzerland, New Zealand, Korea and China."

Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who travelled to Darwin for the verification exercise said Australia was a world leader in EMT.

"Australia’s humanitarian assistance helps to save lives and alleviate suffering in the aftermath of natural disasters and humanitarian crises and makes an important contribution to regional security," Minister Fierravanti-Wells said.

"Within 48 hours of a disaster, Australia can deliver emergency relief supplies, deploy response teams and fund partner organisations to provide life-saving assistance.

"Australia is also helping countries in our region to become better prepared for and more resilient to crises through working with multilateral and NGO partners on disaster risk reduction and preparedness."

In addition to operating the full field hospital, AUSMAT provides an extremely flexible and agile response capability. During this year’s response to Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji, AUSMAT provided medical care to more than 1,700 people through mobile outreach teams working with local health providers.

The Australian Government, through the Department of Health, has provided funding to the Northern Territory Government to support the operation of the NCCTRC since 2005. It has also provided an additional $63.5 million over four years (2015–19) to maintain the functions of the NCCTRC.

This funding allows for the continued training and development of AUSMAT personnel who are drawn from state and territory health departments, and the maintenance of a sophisticated cache of equipment.

The Australian Government continues to support the good work of the WHO and its objective to ensure all global EMTs meet international standards. In recognition of this, the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have contributed $A1m to support the WHO EMT initiative.

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