The recent media on ESTA delays has been very confronting. Of course, the horrific cases in the media are no surprise to ESTA staff, as they have been experiencing these issues for years, not months. ESTA call takers and dispatchers in particular have had to deal with the failings of the service on a daily basis. And now the public is also acutely aware of the failings and equally horrified.
A couple of months ago in a meeting with ESTA management we were told that it was unrealistic to aim for 100% of calls being answered within 5 seconds. That defeatist attitude by ESTA management shows a degree of contempt for the community, who ESTA staff ultimately work and care for. How can these organisations that have peoples lives in their hands be allowed to dismiss certain percentages of our communities like they do? AV do the same thing by only aiming for 85% of Code 1’s to be responded to within 15 minutes.
The underlying issue here is not COVID-19, it is years of management and the government being content with both ESTA and AV trading risk for dollars. They got away with it for some time by pushing staff harder and harder and not being called to account. But the argument has now turned, and underlying targets need to be reconsidered or funding models will never improve.
And what hope have we got of sorting out the non-emerg mess when not even government emergency service providers are sufficiently funded. The race to the bottom continues with non-emerg with the tender process regularly rewarding companies that take short cuts and underpay staff for the essential work they do.
It is time to rethink health.
Basic health services should be a right, not a lottery.
AV – INTERNAL RECRUITMENT
In recent weeks we have spoken about the admissions by AV that internal recruitment has been significantly flawed. This is an issue we have been championing for the last 2 years and this week we hear that AV has finally instructed Senior Managers (Area Manager & above) to ensure that the selection process panels be signed off by the COO’s office to ensure independence and no conflicts of interest. This is a good first step to ensure fairness and to breakdown the issues related to “jobs for the boys”.
We look forward to more changes including an appropriate review process and the fair weighting of selection tools.
AV – PCU – CONTINUING TO INFLICT HARM
Over recent months the AEAV has had numerous members contact us with issues related to the PCU. Both respondents and complainants have continued to find the process inconsistent and opaque. In saying this though we see the problem as being primarily a lack of senior leadership within the department. We understand that the processes are being reviewed as a result of the VEOHRC outcomes but in the meantime the failure of the senior leadership is resulting in additional harm.
To read more about the continuing issues with the PCU you can click HERE.
Workload demands for Team Leaders, Trainers, and Mentors at ESTA Williams Landing are increasing with no end in sight. The Wilsecc team are doing an incredible job supporting new Call-Takers into the workforce, but the new recruits are not receiving enough one-on-one mentoring through their training. ESTA need to create incentives to bring mentors across to Williams Landing to support the Wilsecc team and give new Call-Takers the best chance at succeeding.
Are you a mentor at Tally Ho or Balsecc?
What would be a meaningful incentive for you to assist the team?
Call Organiser Lauren on 0425 755 903.
AV – SURGE WORKFORCE
The chronic underfunding of AV has resulted in them having to take the extreme measure of bringing in ADF, ACO’s, Life-savers and non-emerg to fill paramedic shifts during the pandemic. The commitment has been to roll back the use of the surge workforce with the predicted return to business as usual. Some of you, particularly in rural, are finding that AV already seems to be opting to fill paramedic shifts with ACO’s rather than paramedics and are unnecessarily splitting paramedic crews.
This week we raised our concerns with the Dept of Health as it appears the DoH is being told a different story by AV.
If you are experiencing this, please keep letting us know at [email protected] or call and leave your contact details on 9287 1713.
INCOME PROTECTION INSURANCE
Income Protection (IP) covers members when they cannot work due to illness or injury contracted or occurred outside of working hours.
Primarily members take out IP for peace of mind in case they unexpectedly fall ill or injure themselves. More recently, the union has seen an increase in members applying for IP during the pandemic to ensure financial protection from complications that could arise from contracting Covid-19.
The scheme that AEAV has negotiated compares favourably with all other schemes for ambulance workers, and with some additional benefits.