On Tuesday 21 June 2022 the A/RD for Gippsland Ross Salathiel, sent an email to all Gippsland staff titled Important Safety Information regarding VACIS Completion.
The email appears to be in response to a WorkSafe notification by AEAV regarding the Clearing hospital KPI of 20 minutes and the pressure it puts on staff to start your VACIS before arrival at hospital. You can read the full email below.
Terminology used to deflect
The Gippsland A/RD appears to be confused about the real world and is using terminology to confuse paramedics. Technically he is correct, there is no VACIS KPI, but there is definitely a 20 minute Clearing KPI and any attempt to play that down is irresponsible and disrespectful.
The Clearing KPI has been hammered into paramedics for 7 years with threats of disciplinary action or performance plans, RDP’s knocked back, and overt pressure placed on operational managers and staff to achieve this arbitrarily derived KPI.
Paramedics told they imagined pressure re Clearing KPI
The pressure is not perceived, and to suggest so is a blatant misrepresentation and we fail to see how this complies with AV values. Particularly when coming from someone with this level of authority.
Manager conversations with staff, the red highlighting on the Arrivals Board, the pressure on GAP’s to achieve the KPI before being signed off, and the individual performance dashboards all indicate that the pressure is real not perceived. And these are only a few of the examples of how AV has pressured staff to achieve this KPI.
And to say that the individual KPI reporting was suspended during the pandemic is deflecting from the fact that the KPI will come back, and probably soon. So don’t pretend that it is not an issue, it is still a factor and will rear its head again.
Are AV Exec’s accountable?
The email from this A/RD comes soon after one where he criticised Gippsland staff for not working enough overtime. At that time the excuse provided by the AV Exec was that it was just poorly worded. Well, this most recent email is not just poorly worded, it is intentionally deceptive, and the conduct of this A/RD should be investigated for failure to comply with AV values.
The pattern of behaviour by this A/RD is causing significant harm to staff and as we keep getting told, no one at AV is beyond accountability. This is the second A/RD that we have reported to AV in recent months for a failure to comply with AV values and the indicators so far are that nothing will be done about each of them. Time for AV to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Following some recent discussion within the region, it is timely to provide some clarification regarding the completion of VACIS and the expectation of crews when completing patient care records.
Ambulance Victoria is committed to the health and safety of our people first and foremost, and it is for this reason that AV Policy (WIN/OPS/010) clearly states that VACIS should NOT be completed in a moving vehicle. This position was implemented following an ergonomic study by the Monash University Accident Research Centre which found the practice may be detrimental to health and safety.
This direction exists for your safety and no staff member should feel any expectation to put themselves at risk by completing VACIS in a moving vehicle. We have been made aware that some staff may perceive a time pressure to complete documentation because of the existence of hospital clearing time KPIs which may make some feel inclined to complete VACIS in the vehicle.
Please be aware that there is no such thing as a 20 Minute VACIS completion KPI. There is a 60 minute at hospital KPI, which allows 40 minutes for offload/Transfer of care plus a further 20 minutes to clear. This is a target measure and efforts to adhere to this KPI should not mean that you place your health and safety at risk.
Staff should also be aware that Individual staff KPI reporting was suspended during the COVID Pandemic and does not form part of decision-making process for managers when completing performance reviews or endorsements for study of higher duties applications.
All staff should be familiar with PRO/QPE/009 Patient Care Documentation Standard which provides valuable direction around completion of a PCR and when this should occur.
Could all Cis and PEs ensure that staff commencing practice at AV are supported to be safe in the workplace by ensuring they are familiar with both WIN/OPS/010 and PRO/QPE/009.
If you require any further advice or clarification, please speak to your TM in the first instance.
Ross Salathiel ASM
MICA Paramedic 1052
Regional Director (seconded)