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Union calls for 600 more paramedics for Victoria

Last Updated: 25-10-2013

Union calls for 600 more paramedics for Victoria

An injection of at least 600 paramedics is urgently needed to fix Victoria’s paramedic staffing crisis, according to Ambulance Employees Australia Victoria.

AEAU general secretary Steve McGhie held a meeting with the state’s new Liberal Health Minister David Davis last week to deliver a list of priorities ranging from recruitment to delays off-loading patients at hospitals and delayed response times.

The new government has announced 300 additional paramedics will be employed over the next four years but Mr McGhie said it would not be enough to keep up with demand.

"Last year the (former) government recruited about 260 and lost 180," he said. "They are not keeping with the pace of things. We would say they seriously need an injection of 600.

"Our role is to make
sure they (the new government) will deliver on their election promises."

Mr McGhie said a report expected to be released later this week would show Victorian paramedics have put in "many tens of millions of dollars" worth of overtime in the last two years as a result of staff shortages.

"If they didn’t do that it would just mean the system wouldn’t work. They are working on a lot of their days off," he said.

He said paramedics also have the highest rate of manual handling injuries in the state, with 90 claims per 1000 staff – higher than those from police or fire services.

Mr McGhie said two female paramedics were recently injured when they were forced to move a 200kg patient, because no back-up resources were available.

"Both of them are now off seriously injured. These are the kinds of silly situations that keep happening."
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