AEAV met with AV to discuss issues about lack of staff consultation around meal breaks. AV have advised that consultation will continue around this issue, and that there will be further opportunities for staff to get involved in the consultation process.
We presented three issues as key problems requiring a solution –
- Breaks must be breaks from the job and must ensure that paramedics have access to private space away from the general public.
- Solutions need to be found for people who cannot eat food at a cafeteria – eg people with allergies or specific dietary requirements. Transportation of food for people that wish to eat their own meals can be problematic from a space, hygiene and OHS perspective.
- Facilities at hospitals or alternate meal break venues need to be provided to ensure staff can prepare food and drinks, and can have space to sit down.
In our discussions, AV were clear that there was not going to be changes to current practice of having breaks at branches until consultation had occurred. We presented a number of options for meal break venues – fitted out spaces within hospitals that are not accessible to the public, portable hubs sitting external to the hospital and rented facilities close to hospitals. We also discussed the need for paramedics to be able to transport food with them.
The consultation process will continue from here, it is expected that Ambulance Victoria will shortly email staff to advise them of the avenues for consultation.
You can have your say on meal breaks and other issues causing fatigue by filling in our survey HERE.