Minister must make paramedic positions permanent 01 December 2023

Tas Labor

The Rockliff Government urgently needs to address the paramedic shortage across the North-West Coast.

On Wednesday, 14 paramedic shifts were vacant across the Coast, meaning that only two of six crews from Latrobe to Queenstown were fully functional and able to transfer patients to hospital.

This places incredible pressure on our paramedics, who are dedicated to their communities to help in medical emergencies and are often hamstrung in doing so.

Understandably, our paramedics are burnt out and any remaining goodwill is fading.

Health Minister Guy Barnett should commit as a matter of priority to appointing paramedics currently employed on short-term arrangements to permanent positions.

RTI information obtained by Labor shows that as of September 6, 2023, there were 79 paramedics in insecure work, with 43 paramedics on fixed-term contracts and 36 in casual positions.

Sixty-three per cent of those who are on fixed-term contracts have had three or more fixed-term contracts in their time with the service.

Insecure working arrangements make it extremely difficult to recruit and retain paramedics to Tasmania, who are enticed elsewhere by better pay, conditions and permanent work.

The Operational Research in Health Report 2023 clearly shows that 126 extra paramedics are needed, with 87 additional paramedics by 2025-2026.

A Labor Government will invest $6.5 million to support our state’s paramedics and improve ambulance response times, creating additional permanent paramedic positions across regional Tasmania.

Anita Dow MP

Shadow Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Wellbeing

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