With 2022 shaping up to be a challenging year on a number of fronts for ambulance services, we optimistically wish everyone a Happy New Year in our first eBulletin for 2022.
The drain on services continues unabated and the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t seem to be getting much closer. The extent of the problems is so broad that there is no one fix that will improve things in the foreseeable future.
Most importantly for all is managing your own fatigue and welfare. The services you work for have asked more and more of you over the last 2 years. And these services were already asking you to go above and beyond before COVID to keep things afloat. Self-care has become paramount. We encourage all our members to consider what is best for you and your families when considering those extra shifts or engaging with work in your own time. Burning out our frontline workers is not an acceptable way to get through this crisis.
If you feel the service you work for is making unreasonable asks of you that impact your welfare do not hesitate to contact us.
AEAV NEW ORGANISER
On 17 January the AEAV welcomed a new organiser, Darren Law, to the team. Darren has almost 28 years’ experience working as a paramedic across ambulance services and has been a tireless campaigner over his career for members rights in both Queensland and Victoria.
If you wish to speak to Darren regarding a matter you can contact him on
0434 628 877.
AV’s TM/STM RECRUITMENT – WIN FOR COMMON SENSE
Since 2019 we have been challenging AV on their recruitment processes, and in particular those used for TM/STM and PCSC’s. The 2019 recruitment drive caused significant issues and yet AV was dismissive and refused to even have their processes reviewed by the VPSC. The AEAV has kept pressure on AV regarding these processes and in recent months had called out issues as they were identified in the new process.
Finally, today we have seen some acknowledgement by AV that their processes were not fit for purpose, with a move away from a clinical exam and implementation of a clinical leadership portfolio.
Significant harm has been caused as a result of AV’s failure to accept feedback on their processes and those that refused to acknowledge the issues remain in charge today.
The processes are still flawed in a number of ways. Not least of which is the inconsistency and the failure of AV to have a dedicated review process. We will continue to fight for fairer recruitment processes and for those responsible for the harm to be held accountable.
AV’s SURGE WORKFORCE
After discussions with members, we wrote to the Health Minister on 24 December detailing some improvements to the process that we feel would relieve some of the strain on paramedics.
The AEAV understands that there is a need for a surge workforce however does not believe that AV has done enough to reduce the impact on paramedics. The two ideas put to the Health Minister include having operational managers work a day a week on road to fill these surge shifts and support paramedics. The second idea is about utilising those Grads who are on the MATS program as Surge workforce after a few months on MATS.
As part of AV’s response to the COVID pandemic we have seen significant changes to the way AV’s Ambulance Community Officers are utilised.
The changes have seen an increased reliance on ACO’s to assist with service delivery in metro as well as rural regions. Meanwhile AV have been reducing the entitlements. The role that ACO’s play has never been more critical to the organisation. The AEAV has a unique understanding of the importance of ACO’s and has been fielding many enquiries regarding changes to work practices.
If you have concerns about how ACO’s are being utilised by AV then please contact us on 9287 1713 and leave a message or email us at [email protected].
VEOHRC OUTCOMES – IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE
In the last few weeks AV has advertised EOI’s for 4 positions as staff representatives on the steering committee which is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the VEOHRC outcomes.
We look forward to seeing some of our members on that committee. If you have been thinking about applying then you still have until Monday 31 January.
The AEAV has been lobbying the health minister’s office in regard to the make-up of the committee. We are concerned that some of the AV managerial representatives on the committee are the same people who knew about the problems but failed to act.
AV – SPECIAL LEAVE
Over recent weeks there has been much confusion about the entitlement to Special Leave when confirmed COVID positive or a close contact. The current direction from the Department of Health is that staff required to be furloughed or COVID positive staff will have access to 7 days Special Leave. This is not taken from your sick leave balance.
There have been recent changes to the furloughing of close household contacts, and we have been advised that this will change again in coming days. Importantly for close contacts, it will be personal choice as to whether you return to work within the 7 days if you are deemed by Injurynet as a close household contact.
There are also discussions with the Department regarding a portion of sick leave taken over the past 2 years to be recredited.
Members have had questions about leave entitlements when being a close household contact to someone with Covid-19. You can read more about leave entitlements at ESTA here and as always, when in doubt, phone the union on 9287 1713 or email [email protected] to discuss your personal circumstances further.
A new program funded by the Movember Foundation in partnership with The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride Collaboration will assist family and friends to support paramedics experiencing mental ill-health and/or suicidal distress and promote better mental health and wellbeing for themselves. Everymind is seeking to establish a ‘Family and Friends Reference Group’ for the project.
With Omicron spreading through our states and workplaces, the United Workers Union (UWU) will be running updated information sessions for union members and WHS representatives on organising and taking action around workplace safety issues.
You can learn more about this great opportunity here.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
Two whales walk into a pub.
They take a seat at the bar and the first one turns to the bartender and says: “Whhhhhoooooaaaaaeeeeeyyyyiiiiiaaaalllllllooooaaaaauuu?”
The second one turns to the first and says, “Shut up Fred, you’re drunk.”
KEEP IN TOUCH
As always, if you have any issues, questions or queries, get in touch by leaving a message on 9287 1713 or email [email protected]