UNION MOCKS RURAL AMBOS
THE State Government has backed its decision to provide ambulance care in Bushy Park and has slammed the health union for mocking its allocation of increased paramedic numbers.
The Hodgman Government last week announced it is employing 42 new paramedics in rural and regional areas of Tasmania in the next five and a half years.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the extra paramedics would reduce fatigue, increase ambulance responsiveness and reduce overtime costs.
“We have allocated $14.9 million for the progressive recruitment of the 42 paramedics, with three branch station officer team leaders in the South, North and North-West, as well as three extra paramedics at the Wynyard Ambulance Station to be employed this financial year,” he said.
The rollout will include an ambulance based at Bushy Park.
“Next year, we will employ an extra three paramedics in Dodges Ferry, three in Bicheno, three in Deloraine and three in St Helens. Over the remaining four years, a further 24 paramedics will be recruited to regional areas across the state,” Mr Ferguson said.
He said the delivery of a new paramedic to Bushy Park would help alleviate paramedic pressure in the Derwent Valley.
“There is currently no paramedic between New Norfolk and Queenstown – now there will be,” he said.
“This will act as a back-up for New Norfolk and ease pressure and workload. It will also reduce response times in the area, including Maydena, Mt Field National Park and Ellendale.”
In a Facebook post last week, the Health and Community Services Union poured scorn on the government’s allocation to Bushy Park.
The post pointed out that a Bushy Park ambulance and crew would cover 232 people, while currently one ambulance in Hobart equates to covering 22,000 people.
“It is shocking and disappointing that HACSU is attacking the Government’s plan to recruit 42 rural and regional paramedics across the state,” Mr Ferguson said.
“For the union to suggest Bushy Park doesn’t deserve a paramedic is a slap in the face to the people who live, not just in Bushy Park, but in the surrounding areas.”
HACSU state secretary Tim Jacobson said the employment of additional staff was a good initiative.
“But these resources weren’t brought in to deal with the ramping case load issues at the Royal Hobart Hospital. They were brought in to deal with paramedic fatigue to take pressure off them, because of the high case load,” he said.
“It’s more likely that the Bushy Park crew will spend more time in outer Hobart areas than Bushy Park.”