Surge Workforce – Response from Health Minister

On 24 December 2021, the AEAV wrote to the Victorian Health Minister with suggestions for reducing the impact of the surge workforce on operational paramedics. The letter was sent following discussions with members who are burnt out from continually working with unqualified staff when demand has been at unprecedented levels. You can read the union’s letter to the Health Minister here.

In essence, the union put forward two major suggestions to the minister:

  1. Graduate Ambulance Paramedics (GAP’s) employed as part of the Medium Acuity Transport Service (MATS) be transferred to emergency roles after four roster cycles. MATS graduates to fill shifts currently filled by the unqualified surge workforce.
  2. All AV operational managers who are registered paramedics to perform at least one shift per week on road as part of surge workforce.

Unfortunately, The Health Minister, in consultation with the Dept. of Health and Ambulance Victoria, has refused to implement either of the suggestions that members believe would reduce fatigue and burn out while demand is high. You can the Health Ministers response here

The Ministers response refers to the role of AP12’s and shows a lack of understanding of the stresses that come from working with unqualified staff. In addition, the statements regarding the support of management during this time are dismissive at best.

All AV operational staff are being asked to go above and beyond during the surge period. How come managers are not required to step up and assist in reducing the overuse of unqualified staff and burn out of paramedics?

Also disappointing, is that MATS Grads will continue to attend Code 2’s and 3’s while paramedics are asked to attend Priority Zero’s and Code 1’s with unqualified staff. The decision to ignore members suggestions to resolving workplace fatigue and burnout is dangerous for on road staff and the community.

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