Paramedic shortage is hurting

PARAMEDICS across the Central West are being “flogged” by excessive workloads, says the Health Services Union (HSU).

The union, which is running a campaign to address massive shortages of paramedics across NSW, says an additional 17 paramedics are needed to fill staffing gaps across the Central West.

A union spokesperson said extra paramedics were needed for stations in Orange, Blayney, Molong, Oberon, Grenfell and Peak Hill.

Assistant manager of industrial services for HSU East, Tom Stevanja, said the union has written to Premier Barry O’Farrell demanding he address the issue.

He said the union wanted the new government to provide enough funding to employ an extra 200 paramedics in NSW, but was not yet considering industrial action.

“The most concerning thing is if you don’t have enough staff, you can’t respond to patients,” he said.

“We’re confident our members will stretch themselves in whatever way they can to respond on time, but they’re limited in what they can do.

“At the end of the day, those that hold the dollars and cents in Treasury are the ones who can allocate funding to employ more staff.”

The union spokesperson said Orange’s station needed enough new staff to cover a full night shift, which equates to six paramedics. The station recently lost two of its managers, who have been suspended over allegations of misconduct, including bullying and harassment of staff.

An external investigation into complaints at the station has been underway for six months.

“We’re losing staff, there’s a widespread morale problem across the Central West and the officers are just flogged and going from job to job,” the spokesperson said.

“[In Orange] the workloads have increased exponentially and there’s an expectation that with the new hospital the workloads will increase by 30 per cent.”