Last year AEAV supported our member Rob Paton, who had his Paramedic registration suspended by AHPRA following an incident at a hospital where Rob defended himself from an aggressive patient. After 26 years in the job and with a history of unblemished performance and no disciplinary record, we challenged AHPRA’s decision to suspend Rob whilst the matter was investigated and took the matter to VCAT.
We won that case in September of last year at VCAT and Rob was immediately reinstated as a paramedic. You can read more about that here. In the VCAT findings the Tribunal stated:
“Mr Paton would over his long career have had to deal with heightened patients before. No evidence was led to suggest that he has any history whatsoever of using inappropriate force or restraint. The numerous testimonials placed before us suggest that the opposite is true – that is, that he has been an exemplary dedicated member of and credit to his profession over many years.”
“The decision of the respondent to take immediate action under s 156 of the National Law is set aside.”
Since then, the Board of AHPRA requested evidence from all parties involved and investigated the matter. Included in AEAV’s brief was a statement of support from the AEAV Secretary, Brett Adie, drawing on his 25 years of experience of occupational violence as a police officer and a paramedic. After considering all of the submissions the AHPRA Board decided to take no further action. The result being that Rob remains a registered paramedic and can continue to serve the Victorian public. In their decision letter AHPRA highlighted that there is no ongoing risk to the public and that the need to restrain the patient was an isolated incident.
Occupational violence can take a huge toll on people in the job, and Paramedics experience this more than most. The AEAV believes that the responsibility for supporting our members does not just rest with the AEAV, but also with the employers, the courts, the community and legislative bodies that exist to ensure standards are maintained.
Rob is thrilled with the outcome and grateful that this drawn-out process is behind him:
|“When your 26-year career is suddenly brought to an end for defending yourself at work, it can feel pretty isolating and distressing. But the AEAV stepped in to support and helped me navigate the processes with Ambulance Victoria, VCAT and AHPRA. I feel vindicated by AHPRA’s recent decision. Thanks to the AEAV for being in my corner at this difficult time in my career.”|
“When your 26-year career is suddenly brought to an end for defending yourself at work, it can feel pretty isolating and distressing. But the AEAV stepped in to support and helped me navigate the processes with Ambulance Victoria, VCAT and AHPRA. I feel vindicated by AHPRA’s recent decision. Thanks to the AEAV for being in my corner at this difficult time in my career.”
AEAV Secretary Brett Adie said in response to the decision “Paramedic registration is a relatively new frontier for paramedics. This was an important case to show AHPRA that we are behind our members and that their decisions will be challenged when necessary. Our congratulations go to Rob, who can sleep easier now. I would also like to thank our legal team for the great work they did in supporting Rob.”
The consequences of this result can not be underestimated, not only for Rob, but all paramedics. Paramedics operate in uncontrolled and dynamic environments and can be subjected to intense scrutiny based on the observations of bystanders. High quality advocacy and emotional support are necessary to ensure that paramedics are not only afforded natural justice, but also an understanding and compassionate support network.
The AEAV can support you if your career is threatened by Ambulance Victoria or AHPRA through legal representation and quality advocacy. Our experienced team is dedicated to ensuring you have the support you need, when you need it.
For representation or membership enquiries contact the AEAV team on 9287 1713 or via email at [email protected]