Victorian ambos free to discuss pressures as gag lifted

INCREASING demand on under-resourced ambulance stations is tipped to be one of the key concerns Bendigo paramedics will be able to discuss, once a state government-imposed gag is removed.

The ban on paramedics talking about their working conditions will be lifted in the coming weeks, following a Fair Work Australia ruling.

Ambulance Employees secretary Steve McGhie said the removal of gag orders meant paramedics would be allowed to explain the difficult circumstances they’re working under.

Mr McGhie said 24-hour rostering and under-staffing had not been able to meet demand for ambulance services in Bendigo, Maryborough and Castlemaine.

“Across central Victoria and all regional centres, paramedics are being hard done by,” he said. 

“They have to work harder and harder. You can’t have demand going up so much and not introduce enough staff and resources to deal with the rise.”

Mr McGhie said that despite the government investing in more ambulance service centres in Bendigo as part of the new hospital development, there were not enough staff to cover the rosters.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said resources at central Victorian ambulance stations were “stretched to the limit”.

She said hearing the concerns directly from paramedics would show the government how urgently investment was needed.

“The failure to invest in ambulance resources for two years is starting to have a very serious impact,” she said. 

“The only way the public can know about how hard it is for paramedics, is for them to be able to speak out about it.”

The Fair Work Australia ruling was part of an ongoing industrial dispute over working conditions between the ambulance union and the state government 

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