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Union “frustrated”

A SOUTH-WEST fatality has sparked concerns from the Victorian Ambulance Union (VAU), which has called for more support towards staff and for overtime travel allowance to be reinstated.

VAU assistant secretary, Olga Bartasek said since overtime privileges were taken away in August last year, paramedics had raised financial concerns.

Ms Bartasek said the death had brought the issues to a head.

She said last week Ambulance Victoria tried to call in paramedics on their day off to fill a vacant shift in Hamilton.

“On this particular incident, Ambulance Victoria alleged they tried to call paramedics on their day off to fill shifts that were vacant,” she said.

“They have said they couldn’t get paramedics to come in, so they ended up moving someone from Warrnambool to work in Hamilton.

“When that person arrived at work in Hamilton there wasn’t a second paramedic to pair them up with so instead, they had an Ambulance Community Officer (ACO).”

ACOs are not qualified paramedics, but hold emergency care qualifications, equipping them with skills and knowledge suited to manage time-critical medical emergencies in rural, remote or isolated locations.

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