Ambulance Employees Australia – Victoria (AEAV) and the United Workers Union (UWU) believe it is critical that government recognise that the best way for ambulance Victoria (AV) to keep Victorians safe is to ensure the ambulance emergency services are properly funded, and that the welfare and safety of its workforce is paramount to this.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the fragility of the health sector and it has been frontline healthcare workers’ who have paid the cost in their physical and psychological health.
Currently, there is insufficient resources for Ambulance Victoria to properly meet demand, which is placing huge strain on the system and those who work within it. Couples with serious concern around the culture and organisational functionality, the well-being of our paramedics is under significant strain.
Ambulance Victoria and the Emergency Services Telecommunication Authority (ESTA) need reform and a significant increase in resources.
- More paramedics, more trucks on the road and improved communication, including expanding access to Mobile Data Terminals to rural paramedics.
- A focused effort on the safety and welfare of paramedics, including: increase capacity of Team Managers to support operational staff by increasing contact time and 24/7 Safety and Welfare Officers working in each Communications Centre to support the safety and welfare of paramedics on the road.
- Improved access to clinical support and training especially for graduate paramedics, and…
- A funding model across support areas (including but not limited to, Communications, Rosters, Fleet, Payroll, Billing) within Ambulance Victoria tied to demand and staffing increase.
- Funding to ensure Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) can function at full capacity including additional staffing to meet ongoing demand.
It has become clear over recent years leading up to and during the COVID-19 pandemic that the expectation is that Ambulance Victoria do more with less. The current Key Indicator Performance, (KPI) model has resulted in systematic failures with the slightest increase in demand and unsustainable and inexcusable pressures being placed on paramedics and support staff.
In the most recent People Matter Survey 2021, only 62% of respondents indicated that Ambulance Victoria provides a physically safe work environment and 33% believe senior leaders consider psychological health as important as performance. Both the psychological health and physical safety of operational employees are directly impacted by the ability of the organisation to support them whilst attending cases.
Over recent years the focus on performance and the increasing workload has impacted the time that Duty Managers have available to assist staff with safety and welfare matters that they encounter on road. Therefore, we’re calling for 24/7 Safety & Welfare Officers to work in Communication Centres, with rotating rosters to utilise the experience of on-road specially trained paramedics.
We can and must do better for the health and wellbeing of our front-line staff and the vital role they play in responding to Victorians in critical medical emergencies. As such we call on this upcoming budget to demonstrate a significant commitment to the resourcing required to enable our Paramedics to do their job well and be better supported in doing so