Paramedics Back Industrial Action Despite Legal Challenge

A legal challenge over industrial action by Paramedics will be heard by the Industrial Relations Commission today.

The Paramedics Association brought forward it’s plans to take action over a lack of resources and pay on Friday night, after the NSW Government took steps to prevent it.

Members of the union voted decisively last week to ban taking down billing details over the next two weeks, making it difficult for NSW Health to charge patients.

It means patients across the Hunter and the state are likely to avoid being charged costly ambulance bills.

Paramedics are also refusing to report on KPIs or be re-located to other ambulance stations mid-shift.

“Emergency healthcare is in crisis, and it’s patients and Paramedics who have been paying the price,” said APA (NSW) Vice President Scott Beaton.

“We’re tired of apologising for arriving to patient’s hours late. We are tired of worrying our patient will be sicker because we can’t get there in time. This is our way of saying sorry.”

He says current workloads and conditions are wildly unsustainable and has been calling for commitments in the budget to fund more specialists and community care, increase staffing numbers by at least 1500, and increase Paramedic wages.

“Our ambulance service should not be operating at a point of perpetual crisis. We’re fighting for the resourcing we need to protect the safety of our colleagues and communities.”

He is also accusing the NSW Government of only acting when Paramedics take action that will hurt their bottom line.

“Paramedics won’t be intimidated into silence when the lives of our patients are at stake. The Health Minister and Premier continue to throw around empty words while failing to act.”

The Industrial Relations Commission has listed the matter to be heard at 1pm today.

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