THE Queensland Ambulance Service has unveiled plans for a new service which will take Sunshine Coast patients to their GP, rather than a hospital.

The new silver ambulance vehicles are part of the new Low Acuity Response Unit service unveiled yesterday.

Sunshine Coast executive manager operations, Robert Cornthwaite, said the launch of the program followed the success of trails in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Townsville and Cairns.

"Paramedics who staff the LARU attend to lower priority cases that may not necessarily require a full paramedic crew or transport to hospital," he said.

"This will help reduce the strain on local hospital emergency departments by referring non-urgent cases to more suitable alternative options."

DIGITAL SWITCH: Kate Rowan uses the new technology in the communication centre, launched yesterday along with the Low Acuity Response Unit.
DIGITAL SWITCH: Kate Rowan uses the new technology in the communication centre, launched yesterday along with the Low Acuity Response Unit. Warren Lynam

Paramedic Helen Lloyd-Jones said the new service would be manned by six specially-trained paramedics and operate daily between 6am and 8pm.

The LARU was one of two new initiatives launched by the ambulance service on the Sunshine Coast yesterday.

The other was the switch from analogue scanners to the state-of-the-art digital Government Wireless Network (GWN).

The new system not only provides enhanced communications, it gives paramedics access to a "duress" button if they fear for their safety. A speaker can be activated remotely by Operations Centre staff who can listen in to what's going on.

Kate Rowan using the new technology with Director of State Operation Centres, Colin Allen.
Kate Rowan using the new technology with Director of State Operation Centres, Colin Allen. Warren Lynam

Director of State Operations Centres, Colin Allen, said the launch of the GWN was a major change in how emergency services communication worked.

"The GWN provides an integrated and secure radio communications network for Sunshine Coast paramedics, the Maroochydore Operations Centre and other emergency services," Mr Allen said.

"The new digital system enables clear and crisp voice communications between paramedics and allows them to communicate with police and the fire service on the same talk group.

"The added advantage of the system is that it provides extra security to paramedics with personal duress alarm buttons built into the new radios."