Union says paramedic rosters to improve

THE Health Services Union has applauded the NSW Industrial Relations Commission’s decision to ratify an agreement to remove unfair and unsafe rural rosters that were leaving paramedics dangerously fatigued.

There have been allegations that paramedics in the Narooma area had been fatigued and undermanned, but NSW Ambulance has defended the roster system saying fatigue management protocols were in force.

The HSU says rosters meant paramedics were on call for 16 hours at a time, seven days straight with only two days to recover.

The HSU has fought tooth and nail to have the rosters scrapped and late yesterday the NSW IRC accepted the Union’s arguments.

“We have been fighting this case in court and in the community since October and this decision is a victory for common sense,” HSU NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said.

“These rosters were playing havoc with the physical and mental health of paramedics. That can only degrade the quality of care that we can provide to the sick and injured.

“The Commission has accepted a basic principle: paramedics need time to recover from grueling and exhausting shifts.

“It’s just a shame that we had to go through this whole process. If the Government had consulted with its own workforce and shown them some respect, we could have avoided a lengthy and expensive court process while maintaining the morale of the State’s paramedic workforce.”

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