A MASSIVE boost in the number of paramedics and a record number of shifts is enabling Ambulance Victoria to respond to more calls for help than ever before, says Health Minister David Davis.
Mr Davis announced on Thursday morning that Ambulance Victoria figures showed the state government had added an additional 539 paramedics across the state since 2009-10 – an increase of 21.5 per cent.
“This massive increase in paramedic numbers, along with a record budget of $696.5 million (a $132.4 million increase) for Ambulance Victoria demonstrates the Napthine Government’s commitment to a better ambulance service for all Victorians,” Mr Davis said.
“Before coming to office, in June 2010, the Coalition committed to rolling out an extra 310 paramedics and 30 patient transport officers across the state but these figures clearly show the Napthine Government has well and truly exceeded that figure."
Mr Davis' comments come the day after he and Premier Denis Napthine urged paramedics to accept a revised pay offer and bring to an end the long-running ambulance industrial dispute.
The offer made includes: a $3000 sign-on payment for full-timers; a six per cent increase on base wages in 2014 and relevant allowances on approval of the Agreement by the Fair Work Commission;a further three per cent increase from July 1 2015; another three per cent increase from July 1 2016; and consent arbitration of the union’s work value claim by the independent umpire.
However, Bendigo paramedic Brett Adie says the only new thing in the pay offer was an extra $1500 for sign-on.
"They're still offering 12 per cent over five years," he said. "What they're keeping back is what they want to do to paramedics ... They want to bring in is a system where they can basically send any of us anywhere in the state - it will mean the end of experienced paramedics. Anyone who has a family will not be able to do this job."