Paramedics across NSW will refuse to take patients’ billing details over the next five days as their dispute with the government over pay and conditions escalates.
Paramedics brought forward industrial action, due to begin on Monday, after the government launched a challenge in the Industrial Relations Commission, the Australia Paramedics Association NSW says.
Paramedics will stop taking patients’ billing details, will not report key performance indicators and will not leave their home stations from 5.45pm on Saturday.
“This is a disgraceful attempt to stifle paramedics’ voices,” APA NSW secretary Gary Wilson said on Friday.
“We’ve been sounding the alarm on dangerous wait times, extreme fatigue, and chronic under-resourcing for months, and the government has failed to act.
“It’s a disgrace that the only time the government acts is when paramedics take action that will hurt their bottom line.
“Paramedics won’t be intimidated into silence when the lives of our patients are at stake.
“The health minister (Brad Hazzard) and Premier (Dominic Perrottet) continue to throw around empty words while failing to act.”
Mr Perrottet said on Friday that further funding would be committed to paramedics in the June budget.
“(That funding is) incredibly important because they do an amazing job on our front line every single day,” he said.
He urged people to call an ambulance only in an emergency.
“What we’re seeing more and more of now is that people are calling triple zero in times where there’s not an emergency at hand,” Mr Perrottet said.
“And we want obviously our emergency departments to be there for real emergencies.”
The APA is calling on the government to commit to further funding for specialists and community care, to increase paramedic staff numbers by at least 1500, and to lift paramedics’ wages.
The IRC will hear the matter on Monday.