NSW paramedics take five-day industrial action

NSW paramedics have begun industrial action that will include them not logging billing information and remaining at their home station area for the five-day campaign.

People who call 000 will still have an ambulance respond,but will not be billed for it.

Groaning under the strain:NSW Ambulances are struggling to cope with huge demand.

Groaning under the strain:NSW Ambulances are struggling to cope with huge demand.Jessica Hromas

Starting on Friday night and ending on Wednesday,paramedics are taking the action as they bid for 1500 extra staff,the establishment of a specialist community care network and a pay rise.

The Australian Paramedics Association is also demanding the state government implement the recommendations of the Regional Healthcare Inquiry and a review of the patient triaging system.

This week,theHerald revealed NSW Ambulance is considering “an alternate transport option” to health care services,such as general practitioners or pharmacists,for some triple-zero callers who are assessed as having conditions that do not need an urgent ambulance response.

The state’s ambulance service has reached its highest possible emergency response level multiple times in recent weeks,including on Thursday,with ambulances attending a near-record 116,000 cases in April.

Growing pressure on the service comes asdoctors warn that emergency departments are so overcrowded patients are being treated in corridors and ambulances are routinely ramped for hours outside hospitals waiting to offload patients.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the move would help counter non-emergency calls to triple zero.

“What we are seeing,more and more now that people are calling triple-0 in times when there is not an emergency at hand,” he said.

“We’re going to be investing more amounts in our paramedics as part of this year’s budget and that’s incredibly important because they do an amazing job on our frontline every single day providing that care and support.”

Australian Medical Association NSW branch president Michael Bonning said the proposal was a “short-term solution” that failed to address the underlying issues that cause ambulances to be ramped outside hospitals waiting hours to transfer seriously ill patients.

Sally Rawsthorne is a Crime Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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