A PLANNED new ambulance roster will endanger the lives of patients, an Albury paramedic says.
Australian Paramedics Association Albury delegate James Kydd said the night shift would go from having one on-duty crew and two on-call teams to having two on-duty pairs.
“I think from the public’s point of view their proposal is a dangerous change to the current roster, because there’s no fallback position,” Mr Kydd said.
“If those two crews are out at night, there’s no-one else to call on.”
Mr Kydd said the change, which follows a campaign last year by paramedics for increased numbers in Albury, would lead to paramedics being more fatigued.
He claimed NSW Ambulance was introducing the new roster in response to the union going public with its concerns.
“We see this as purely retribution on the side of the ambulance service to make a point,” Mr Kydd said.
“They’re very authoritarian in their management and they want to make an example of us so we won’t do this again and others won’t do the same thing.
“The sad thing is they’re the putting people of Albury’s lives at risk because they’re so blinkered in their thinking.”
NSW Ambulance rejected Mr Kydd’s claims, saying the new roster was a draft and any changes would address concerns about tiredness.
“Fatigue management is a key focus for NSW Ambulance and is monitored closely by management to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, or the patients they treat, is not put at risk,” a spokesman said.
“NSW Ambulance is actively consulting with staff on rosters that will minimise the need for paramedics to respond from home.”
Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) president Steve Pearce, of Jerilderie, said since raising their concerns publicly his members had been harassed by ambulance management.
“Our members have complained that they have been bullied to end their campaign for extra staff to cover the massive workload in the area caused by increases in population,” Mr Pearce said.
The ambulance spokesman said there had been “no formal complaints related to bullying and/or harassment regarding the proposed roster change, by staff at Albury station”.
“However, we encourage all staff to raise any issue of concern through an appropriate channel for investigation and resolution,” he said.