Australian Paramedics Association calls on state government to increase services

File picture.
File picture.

The Australian Paramedics Association is calling on the state government to fund 107 additional salaried paramedics in Tasmania.

A government spokeswoman said paramedics’ concerns were not being ignored and there were some aspects of the system that were out of its control.

​“DHHS is currently undertaking a review into the ambulance service, and looking at how to manage demand to reduce pressure on our emergency ambulance resources and busy hospital system,” she said.

Among the key goals for the association were the creation of 107 additional salaried paramedic positions at Ambulance Tasmania; the immediate deployment of paramedics to areas where no resources were currently available, such as the area between Triabunna and St Helens.

The Tasmanian branch of the Australian Paramedics Association last month met with Health Minister Michael Ferguson to outline the issues facing the service.

“There is no question that Ambulance Tasmania is in crisis, paramedics are at breaking point, and the public aren’t receiving the service they deserve,” the APA’s Steve Pearce said.

“Paramedics don’t just want to highlight the problems facing the service, they have developed practical solutions that are available to be implemented now, but they need the government to have the political will to act.”

The government spokeswoman said she could confirm there would be additional funds for the health system in next week’s budget. “There will always be unpredictable periods of sudden illness or higher than normal unexpected leave, and procedures are in place to cover vacant shifts in these circumstances.

“We openly acknowledge that demand has continued to grow, and that puts pressure on ramping, which is why we are actively opening 23 new hospital beds across the North and North West and recruiting more frontline staff to help take pressure off our hospitals and our ambulance resources.”

APA Tasmania members, who are all working paramedics, are not permitted to speak publicly about problems. “Tasmanian paramedics have taken their message directly to the state government to warn that a lack of resources combined with surging workloads have pushed Ambulance Tasmania to crisis point, with the end result being patients enduring lengthy waits for medical assistance,” Mr Pearce said.