University Of Tasmania

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Ambulance dispatches and heatwaves in Tasmania, Australia: A case-crossover analysis

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 00:45 authored by Sharon CampbellSharon Campbell, Tomas Remenyi, Grant WilliamsonGrant Williamson, Dean RollinsDean Rollins, Christopher White, Fay JohnstonFay Johnston

Background: Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and severity of heatwave events, with a corresponding negative impact on human health. Health service utilisation during a heatwave is increased, with a greater risk of poor health outcomes identified for specific population groups. In this study, we examined the impact of heatwave events on ambulance dispatches in Tasmania, Australia from 2008 to 2019 to explore health service utilisation and identify the most vulnerable populations at a local level.

Methods: We used a time-stratified case-crossover analysis with conditional logistic regression to examine the association between ambulance dispatches and three levels of heatwave events (extreme, severe, and low-intensity). We examined the relationship for the whole study population, and by age, gender, socio-economic advantage and clinical diagnostic group.

Results: We found that ambulance dispatches increase by 34% (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.18-1.52) during extreme heatwaves, by 10% (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.05-1.15) during severe heatwaves and by 4% (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02-1.06) during low-intensity heatwaves. We found significant associations for the elderly (over 65), the young (5 and under) and for regions with the greatest socio-economic disadvantage.

Conclusion: Heatwaves were associated with increased demands on ambulance services in Tasmania. In subgroups of people aged over 65 or under 5 years of age, and those from areas of higher disadvantage, we generally observed greater effect sizes than for the population as a whole.


Publication title

Environmental Research



Article number









Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Academic Press Inc Elsevier Science

Place of publication

525 B St, Ste 1900, San Diego, USA, Ca, 92101-4495

Rights statement

© 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Climatological hazards (e.g. extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires); Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified; Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified