NSW paramedics are threatening to effectively quit unless they get a 20 per cent pay rise, as survey finds 37 per cent plan to leave the profession anyway within five years.
Paramedics are threatening to effectively quit unless they get a 20 per cent pay rise, after a bombshell staff survey found 37 per cent of the workforce plans to quit within five years. Health Services Union members have made the radical threat in their latest attempt to get “professional wages” in line with interstate counterparts.
More than 1,500 HSU members have pledged to boycott the annual registration process, which needs to be renewed before December 1.
That amounts to a quarter of the workforce threatening to leave, with more workers expected to join the boycott before the end of the month.
HSU State Secretary Gerard Hayes said that if all of his members refuse to register, NSW could be left with as few as 500 ambulance crews working at full capacity.
“That’s not enough to sustain the service delivery that’s occurring at the moment,” Mr Hayes said.
The HSU’s ambulance division has been at war with the Minns government for months in an attempt to secure “professional recognition” and professional pay rates.
The union wants, at the least, to be paid the same as their Queensland counterparts.
That would amount to a pay rise of more than 20 per cent – from a base salary of some $79,000 to about $100,000.
The current public sector pay deal would give paramedics four per cent pay rise each year.
Ambulance staff who remain unregistered by January will be legally prevented from working as professional paramedics, putting a massive extra strain on hospital staff.
Mr Hayes said anyone who remains unregistered would still be able to do “the basics,” like driving ambulances, performing CPR and applying bandages.
They would not be able to perform more extensive emergency care like administering drugs or intubating patients.
“That’s what comes with being a professional,” Mr Hayes said.
“It would appear that the government’s prepared to pay them as ambulance drivers, well that’s fine – they’ll be ambulance drivers.”
The Daily Telegraph can also reveal that almost 90 per cent of paramedics think they are being underpaid, according to the government’s own survey.
The latest People Matters survey, completed this week, found that only 12 per cent of respondents think they are being paid fairly.
The survey foreshadowed a looming staffing crisis, with 37 per cent of respondents planning to leave in the next five years.
More than a third of respondents said they were applying for, or intended to apply for, a role in the private sector.
Only 26 per cent were satisfied with their prospects of career progression, and more than half thought that NSW Ambulance is “committed to developing its employees”.
Mr Hayes said that his members are already fleeing NSW to earn more money elsewhere.
“This is a market driven issue. We are seeing paramedics leaving every day.
“Paramedics anywhere near any border are just swapping uniforms, while staying in the same house, and getting a 20 per cent or 30 per cent pay increase.”
Rohan Kilham recently moved to Hobart from NSW, where he had worked as a paramedic for 16 years.
He said pay rates should be increased “30 to 50 per cent” to increase retention.
He said the registration boycott would be a “disaster” if it went ahead.