Macarthur paramedics feel “disrespected” by the NSW state government and south-west Sydney ambulance upper management.
Local paramedic Christina* told the Advertiser she had spoken with many of her colleagues who felt government cuts to paramedics’ death and disability cover would negatively change many lives forever.
They are equally disappointed their upper managers have not supported protests – including writing messages in liquid chalk (see picture) condemning the changes on ambulance vehicles – which still allow them to complete their jobs to the best of their ability, something management in other Sydney regions have supported.
“It feels very disrespectful,” Christina said.
“They know what jobs we’re going out to, they know what we have to do to help people and we are not being protected.”
Changes to death and disability cover for paramedics sees the benefits they would have been paid if prevented from working cut by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Christina hopes the protests – and speaking out – will help raise public awareness of the issue.
She thinks, given premier Mike Baird’s recent backflip on the greyhound industry ban, there might still be hope this decision can be reversed.
“We want to do our jobs the best we can,” Christina said.
“We might be attending to a cardiac arrest patient in the back of an ambulance at high-speed along a bumpy road, standing up doing CPR.
“The safest position for us would be strapped into that vehicle, but that doesn’t give the patient the best chance of survival.
“Knee and back injuries are two of the most common for paramedics because of scenarios like this.”
Christina herself has suffered back and shoulder injuries in the past that have sidelined her for close to a month each time.
But she considers herself one of the lucky ones – she can still do the job she loves.
“I don’t think you can work as a paramedic if you don’t love the job,” she said.
“We go out every day with the goal of helping as many people as we can.
“Now the government is not willing to help us.
“We need the community to help and support us by going to their local members and calling for the decision to be reversed.
“We can’t do our job properly with this big thing hanging over our shoulders every day.”
*Christina’s name was changed due to the very real possibility she would lose her job for speaking out.