Paramedics win increased ambulance coverage across NSW

Australian Paramedics Association (NSW)

Communities around NSW will see guaranteed ambulance coverage increase by as much as 25% by mid-July, after NSW Ambulance (NSWA) announced it will comply in full with an IRC Recommendation sought by the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW).

The decision follows 3 years of disputation, and closes a loophole which allowed ambulances to be ‘dropped’ from core rosters without replacement; resulting in frequent and significant shortages.

“Once implemented, this will be the most significant update to Paramedic crewing levels since 2010,” said APA (NSW) President Chris Kastelan.

“NSW Ambulance will now be required to maintain core rosters at every station, every day.

“This will raise minimum daily coverage all around the state, including by 36 ambulances every day in metro Sydney. Paramedics and the communities they serve will see immediate improvements.

“It’s a landmark decision in our fight for rostering which meets community demand without sacrificing Paramedics’ safety and wellbeing.”

APA (NSW) gave evidence at the IRC about the impact of routine staffing shortfalls, including data showing the frequency with which Paramedics were being required to work overtime, miss their scheduled meal breaks, and even skip vaccine appointments to address call backlog.

“We took this fight to the IRC because existing practices at NSW Ambulance were blatantly unsafe—with communities often being left without adequate coverage, and Paramedics being asked to pick up the slack by working overtime and missing meal breaks.

“Our members have fought hard for years to see reform enacted, and we’re relieved the IRC has made the Recommendation sought by APA (NSW).

“It’s a great step, but this decision should be just the benchmark for ongoing progress on this issue.

“The IRC has directed Ambulance to work with us on ensuring future rostering decisions take into account Paramedic safety and the evidence about community demand. If we’re going to avoid having this same fight in another couple of years, they need to take this responsibility seriously.”

NSWA will implement the change in staggered stages, between May 22 and July 16.

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