LITHGOW paramedics have been called on to show their anger to the government and take a strong stance against the chronic under-resourcing of the Ambulance Service at a rally of the Health Services Union in Sydney tomorrow.
Off-duty local HSU members will be travelling to the HSU Ambulance Division meeting being held to develop a response to the issues confronting Ambulance Paramedics.
The meeting will be followed by a protest march to Parliament House.
Vice president of the HSU Central West Sub-Branch East and Lithgow paramedic Ron Parry said the latest NSW Government plans to use fire fighters as first responders in medical emergencies was the final straw on the camel’s back.
The HSU does not welcome the move nor does the Fire Brigade Employees Union, or the Australian Medical Association.
The NSW president of the Fire Brigade Employees Union, Darin Sullivan said fire fighters should be paid for any extra work and the issue was likely to provoke industrial action.
“It looks like fire fighters will be forced to take on a role as first responder to support the ambulance service for the first time in NSW,” he said.
“But with the O’Farrell government’s policy, it is outside government policy for public sector workers to claim extra pay based on extra work performed.
“This will be a major reform requiring a formal increase in skills and training.”
The NSW AMA president Brian Owler said fire brigade officers received first-aid training, but it was nowhere near as advanced as training for paramedics.
“Fire brigade officers are trained to fight fires and the first-aid training they receive is a far cry from what they need to deal with a medical emergency,” Dr Owler said.
“If the ambulance service need more ambulance officers, then that’s what they need to provide.”
With the ambulance service more than 600 paramedics short of what they need in NSW, Mr Parry said, being understaffed is at the core of the issues the ambulance service is up against.
The meeting is being held in Pitt Street, Sydney starting at 11am.