Scott Beaton, a paramedic stationed at Gilgandra in the Central West, says sometimes he has to go to Dubbo two or three times in a night even after having finished the day shift.
Gilgandra is about 70 kilometres from Dubbo.
Mr Beaton says sometimes paramedics are forced to work 23 hours a day without proper rest.
“It doesn’t happen all the time. But when it happens, it becomes quite frustrating,” he said.
“It does affect our duties as we are tired all the time.
“We have been asking the NSW Government to change the [current fatigue] policy since August 2017, but nothing has been done so far.”
“All we want is to have the ability to rest,” Mr Beaton said.
Mr Beaton is the acting executive officer of the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) and represents the Western region.
The association has been demanding better awards, a change in the current fatigue management policy and more climate friendly uniforms.
The association is meeting every candidate for the upcoming state election and asking them to support its demands.
Mr Beaton said the association has so far received an official commitment from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in the Central West.
He said the current policy is ineffective and has been unusable for years since it was put in place.
“Currently truck drivers have a better fatigue management policy, which was pushed forward by the RMS and managed by the police, compared with ours,” he said.
“Paramedics are out on the road sometimes 23 hours a day.”
“The current fatigue policy doesn’t allow us to get adequate rest.
“Our colleagues on helicopters have a fatigue policy. They are forced to take an adequate break before getting on to the helicopters.
“We are asking for a similar thing for on-road paramedics.”
Mr Beaton said the association is asking for climate friendly uniforms.
“We are wearing the same uniform which the paramedics are wearing in Jindabyne or Bondi,” he said.
“These [uniforms} might be effective in Orange and Bathurst where the temperature is a bit cooler, but it is difficult to work in these uniforms when you get out to Mudgee, Gilgandra or Dubbo where the temperature reaches up to 47 degrees.
“We all love our jobs and we love serving our communities. But we need some assistance from the Ambulance Service, which is funded by the government.”
Mr Beaton said more staff could reduce the workload, but of the 750 new paramedics announced by the NSW Government, the Western region will only get six.
“The Western region starts at Lithgow and goes up to Broken Hill. It is close to 50 per cent of the state. Most new members will either go to metropolitan or coastal areas,” he said.
Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) secretary Steve Pearce said the current NSW Coalition Government had been treating paramedics poorly and failed to address issues related to fatigue, working conditions and deficient equipment.
“The Berejiklian Government is continually telling the public that NSW has no debt and a massive surplus, but NSW Ambulance has insufficient funding to improve the appalling working conditions paramedics endure on the job,” Mr Pearce said.
Mr Pearce said paramedics were being treated like “battery hens”.
“Paramedics are being told to continue working when they are suffering from acute fatigue. If they refuse, they are threatened with disciplinary action,” he said.
“Those who tell managers they are too tired to continue after 12 or even 14 hours or more on the job are subjected to outrageous bullying by NSW Ambulance.
“We are concerned at the number of reports of paramedics so tired they worry about falling asleep behind the wheel of their ambulance or while driving home.
“The amount of violence paramedics face is increasing, particularly with the numbers of drug affected and mentally disturbed patients.”