BENDIGO paramedics fear patient safety could be compromised by staffing shortages putting pressure on crews.
The Victorian Ambulance Union has voiced concerns about workload and stress on its members in Bendigo.
Secretary Danny Hill said chronic understaffing was enormously stressful for paramedics, as they faced always being the solo decision maker.
Mr Hill said Bendigo members were raising concerns with him about their workload daily.
Mr Hill said paramedics were regularly getting callouts to fill shifts in Kangaroo Flat, Eaglehawk and Bendigo, on the one night.
He said the COVID-19 crisis had been an enormous catalyst for existing stresses, meaning many were close to breaking point.
Mr Hill said he didn't think he'd ever seen such a push by members for more paramedic resources in an area.
"Bendigo's chronically understaffed. Members contact me daily saying they've received text messages saying, 'Can you come in and fill a shift?'" he said.
"There's a clear need for more paramedic resources in Bendigo."
Mr Hill said areas already under pressure like Bendigo were becoming flashpoints for where members broke with the additional stress from COVID-19.
"There's a lot of people that have become so fatigued, so stressed in the job, that a lot of shifts are being dropped, because they're calling in sick," he said.
"With summer on its way I think we're going to see more of that, because members will be responding to cases in fully PPE.
"What's close to breaking point, we're going to see at breaking point."
Ambulance Victoria said it had sufficient staff to meet the city's needs in a statement to the Bendigo Advertiser.
A Rochester paramedic voiced concerns about staffing in the town, and similar towns in regional areas, in 2018.
Mr Hill said paramedic staffing was a concern in other regional cities, but Bendigo was the most pressing situation.
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