PARAMEDICS FEAR PANDEMIC
Ambos warn staff are at risk if social distancing rules aren’t followed
PARAMEDICS on the frontlines of Darwin’s coronavirus crisis fear their lives are at risk if St John Ambulance doesn’t stop the “fluid deployment” of workers.
PARAMEDICS on the frontlines of Darwin’s coronavirus crisis warn St John Ambulance could be putting the health of first responders at serious risk if they don’t stop the “fluid deployment” of workers during the pandemic.
United Voice NT secretary Erina Early said the fluid deployment rule made social distancing very hard because it meant multiple ambulance crews were often packed into the same station in between call outs.
A concerned paramedic, who asked not to be named, said keeping paramedics in such close quarters was a “disaster waiting to happen” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re setting ourselves up, so if someone does become infected there is potential it will contaminate several crews at once,” he said.
“At the Palmerston station last week there were several crews resting there at the same time and nine paramedics who were sharing recliners, kitchens and bathroom facilities during a time when we should be trying to minimise that.
“You’ve just got to look at the situation in Tasmania right now to understand the risk.
“It only took a positive health staff worker to completely close down two hospital ED departments.”
St John Ambulance NT director of ambulance services Andrew Thomas said the
Palmerston station was fitted out to accommodate six staff.
“At 59 sqm, this space is well above the recommended minimum space of 4 sqm of space per person,” he said.
“In anticipation of increased workloads, we have recently increased crew rooms at the Casuarina station by nearly 100 per cent to ensure that our crews have adequate space and are able to take muchneeded breaks while on shift.”
He said fluid deployments had already been in place for a year and it made sense to use it as an operational strategy.
“Fluid deployment enables us to move crews between stations to ensure that we maintain optimal coverage in our response across the Darwin region,” he said.