It would be an understatement to say things have been rough for Paramedics and Control Centre Operators for the past few months. ADHSU members work tirelessly in tough conditions at the best of times, but the second major NSW outbreak has pushed many towards the edge.
Recently, a mental health survey sent out to ADHSU members found that just under 20% of respondents were not okay, and it’s no wonder. As hospitalisations spike, reports of ambulances waiting for hours at hospitals to discharge patients are growing. Paramedics are working 17 hours without an adequate break, with added vehicle cleaning at the end of an already exhausting shift.
Reports from members include being forced into inadequate hotel quarantine without any room to move around or measures in place to deliver hot nutritious meals; mental stress and uncertainty about personal safety; and severe discomfort from full PPE, not to mention the danger it presents heading into the hotter months. Adding to all this are strict lockdowns, now affecting all of NSW, meaning there is little respite at home, where dinner still needs to be put on the table and family members cared for. Many members live and work within the LGAs of concern and will be subjected to curfews and a complex system of passes to move in and out of these suburbs.
During this time, it’s important that HSU members have each other’s back and there are counselling services available for free to all HSU members if they need. You can call Foundo Blue on the dedicated HSU member number, which is 02 9555 8361. The service is anonymous, including from the union office, and free for all HSU members. With that said, there is no better solution to the problems being faced by ADHSU members than strong action.
All ADHSU members from NSW Ambulance are invited to a meeting with Gerard Hayes on Wednesday 25 August at 1400 on zoom (we will text out the link closer to the meeting).
This is an open meeting and will be an excellent chance to escalate problems being faced by members directly to Gerard. As HSU Secretary, Gerard is keen to hear from members about what’s working (if anything) and what’s not working regarding the response to COVID.
It will also give members an opportunity to hear from each other. We know that collective solutions to workplace problems are often the most powerful, so make sure you attend to voice your views on the best way to deal with each and every COVID-related problem faced by ADHSU membership right now.