THE NSW Government has been accused of playing politics over the transfer of paramedics to a city critical to the result of next month's state election.
Scott Beaton, the Central West representative for the Australian Paramedics Association, says the NSW Government is withdrawing paramedics from ambulance stations across the Central West and Riverina and transferring them to Wagga Wagga.
And the reason?
"Because they [the NSW Government] want to win back a parliamentary seat lost in a byelection," Mr Beaton alleged.
The Liberals lost the Wagga Wagga state byelection last year after holding the seat for more than 60 years.
The NSW Government, however, denied the allegations.
Mr Beaton said it usually takes between six and 12 weeks to effect a transfer between ambulance stations.
"NSW Ambulance has fast-tracked transfers and is processing them in just 14 days to curry favour with voters in Wagga Wagga," he said.
In a statement, the Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) said seven paramedics being transferred next week to Wagga Wagga are from stations at Ardlethan, Narrandera, Junee, Gilgandra, Temora and Haberfield.
“This will leave my station at Gilgandra short one paramedic and we have no idea when a replacement will be available," Mr Beaton said.
"Every station which is losing a paramedic to Wagga will be left short-staffed as well."
Mr Beaton said the existing staff will have to do overtime to fill the shifts.
"What Premier [Gladys] Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard don’t understand is that paramedics in the Central West are so overworked and so tired that they don’t want to do overtime.”
What Premier [Gladys] Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard don’t understand is that paramedics in the Central West are so overworked and so tired that they don’t want to do overtime.
Its spokesperson said the 12 positions at Wagga Wagga were advertised in December last year and are being filled by paramedics from across the state.
"These paramedics are due to commence duties later this month and will be permanently based in the area," the spokesperson said.
"NSW Ambulance paramedics are regularly offered the opportunity to apply and transfer to areas of their choice across the state in accordance with the internal transfer policy.
"As per the policy, the positions in which paramedics have transferred from will then also be recruited to.”