HUNTER New England is among the districts set to receive new "state-of-the-art" intensive care ambulances thanks to an $11.7 million funding boost by the NSW government.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said a new fleet of 69 intensive care ambulances would carry the "most advanced equipment" to bolster the frontline emergency response across the state.
"Every second counts in the race to save a life and these highly specialised vehicles give paramedics the best chance when transporting a patient on extended trips to a major regional hospital," he said. "The NSW government is building a safer and stronger regional NSW, with 50 of the 69 ambulances being based in rural and regional areas, supporting those who live hundreds of kilometres from the nearest trauma centre."
The intensive care ambulances would be rolled out to Western NSW, Southern NSW, Northern NSW, Hunter New England and Central Coast regions, "as well as metropolitan areas".
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said the new fleet was in addition to the 35 intensive care ambulances rolled out last year.
"These specially equipped ambulances, operated by our fantastic highly trained paramedics, will give patients the best chance of survival before they reach hospital."
NSW Ambulance chief executive Dominic Morgan said the equipment would make a big difference for patients suffering trauma, cardiac arrest, stroke or breathing difficulties.
The Health Services Union (HSU) says the ambulance fleet was a "good first step", but it should be followed by boosting intensive care paramedic numbers. HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said at least one 12-person intensive paramedic crew was needed for every 50,000 people "immediately".