Ambulance Victoria will take immediate steps to ensure the safety and support of its workers following the release of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report.
In a first-volume report, it found more than half of 2163 respondents in the survey had been bullied and 47 per cent were discriminated against.
In the commission's report, excerpts of interviews from participants spotlighted key areas of concern.
"The experiences shared with the commission show that Ambulance Victoria's efforts to prevent unlawful and harmful conduct have so far been ineffective," the report said.
"They speak to a workforce, many members of which do not feel safe, many of whom have lost trust and many whom, unlike their patients, do not feel valued or cared for."
The commission was called in to do a review of the service in October 2020.
"Certain behaviours, particularly everyday forms of disrespect, have seeped into the fabric of the organisation," the commission found.
Women are at a heightened risk of experiencing sexual harassment and discrimination, as were those belonging to different demographic groups, cohorts and regions.
Ambulance Victoria accepted all 24 of the commission's recommendations related to improving how the organisation seeks to prevent and respond to discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation.
Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker said the stories shared with the commission and their experiences of discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation were deeply confronting.
"To those of our people who shared your experience, either with the commission or directly with me, I thank you for your enormous bravery," he said.
"To those of you who have been subjected to behaviours and actions that are disrespectful, hurtful or unlawful, I unreservedly apologise."
Professor Walker said the behaviours described in the report fell short of what the community expected of Ambulance Victoria.
"The actions that have been described so openly and honestly in this report will not be tolerated, no matter what the perpetrator's level of clinical or corporate experience," he said.
"There is no place at Ambulance Victoria for people who engage in such harmful or unlawful conduct, or for those who seek to protect it."
From the 2163 people who responded to the Commission's survey, it was found that:
- 47.2 per cent of survey respondents reported experiencing discrimination;
- 17.4 per cent reported experiencing sexual harassment;
- 52.4 per cent reported experiencing bullying; and
- 34.5 per cent reported experiencing victimisation.
Among the measures recommended, Ambulance Victoria will create a new, dedicated division to drive workplace equality and reform, redesign its reporting and complaints system and create multiple anonymous reporting pathways.
Ambulance Employees Australia - Victoria secretary Brett Adie said the report was a line-in-the-sand moment.
He said it showed that significant reform needed to be made throughout Ambulance Victoria.
"The findings paint a picture of a toxic workplace culture that has been protected and perpetuated by senior executives within the organisation," he said.
"Those responsible must be removed from the organisation for there to be any hope of transformational change.
"The report shows Ambulance Victoria has failed staff on every level.
"Ambulance Victoria has not only failed to protect staff, but has failed to listen to them when they have reported harm."
The final report by the VEOHRC is due in March 2022.
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