Health Services Union paramedics are celebrating a historic victory with the NSW Government today announcing it will recruit more than 2000 additional ambos to bolster the ranks of a fatigued and overworked ambulance service.
The Union has pushed for the extra positions for the past five years, taking serious industrial action on multiple occasions, pressing the case to politicians on Macquarie Street, and continually highlighting the community impact of short staffing in the media.
It’s expected 1850 of the new positions will be paramedics with a further 300 ambulance support positions. Today’s announcement builds on the 750 additional paramedics the HSU won in 2018.
HSU NSW Secretary, Gerard Hayes, said paramedics would now continue to campaign for decent wages that reflect the contribution and professionalism of paramedics.
“This is a historic win and every HSU paramedic who stood up when it counted deserves recognition. Our paramedics have been consistently under-resourced and it has impacted the community,” Mr Hayes said.
“We commend the Premier for listening to our concerns and making this commitment.
“Even before he was premier, Mr Perrottet took the time to listen to paramedics and understand their issues. More than 2000 additional ambos is the largest boost in the history of the ambulance service and will certainly improve patient outcomes
“For too long, paramedics have worked themselves to the bone to protect the community. This announcement will allow them to deliver even better care to the community while also protecting their own health and wellbeing.
“Extra positions are of course only half the battle. We still need to professionalise the pay of NSW paramedics who remain the lowest paid in the country.
“The Premier is making the right noises on this issue by committing to a professional pay taskforce. However our hope and expectation is that the budget will contain a pay rise that reflects both the surging cost of living and the extraordinary productivity of our paramedics.
“A modern ambo can deliver emergency medicine that not only keeps a patient alive but drastically reduces their stay in hospital. That’s a massive saving for taxpayers yet paramedic wages simply don’t reflect this reality.
“Without a serious pay rise it will be hard to recruit and retain the extra paramedics announced today. We will continue to press for fair pay.”