Meeting Chaired by
10:30-12:30 on July 17th, 2023
Michael Hardwick, Conrad Fairhead, Kirsty Roberts, Jon Flockton, Jesse George and Justin Ingey.
John Thomas, Lee Waller and Tania Hill.
Brendon Brodie-Hall, Joe Cuthbertson, Justin Fonte, Karen Stewart, Joel Moore, Naomi Powell, David Cutler, Natalie Adams, Florentina Min and Stephanie Freemantle.
St John Opening Statement
Metropolitan Ambulance General Updates
BCP level within the organisation are set at level 2, this is due to current staffing levels. The workload is steadily increasing along with the call cycle times. Currently 82% of the P1 target is being achieved and the standby capacity is averaged at 30%. The current LAR model is improving P3 times. The AEAWA had asked when the LAR crews are going to a 2/2/4 roster, to which the response from St John was this is currently happening with a designated RFDS crew.
Country Ambulance General Updates
The recent country assessment centers have closed which seen 50 applicants for the advertised 31 country positions and the bulk of those officers applying for the three most sort after areas; Esperance, Margaret River and Busselton. The successful officers will commence on or before the 31st December 2023.
There will be a further assessment center opening around November 2023 for other future country positions. St John acknowledged that the Christmas roster is an issue with many officers is the country accessing annual leave over this period. This creates an issue in metro as many officers vacate the metropolitan roster to relive in the country locations. St John will oversee the rostering in the regional areas to potentially limit this impact.
Ramping and Shift Extensions General Updates
The recent figures show a total of 4,700 ramping hours in June, 2023 and St John have implemented a full HLM roster to manage this ramping and takeover crews. There was an increase of 80 hours for night shift extensions, and day shift extensions have stayed the same. St John also reiterated that the AO/AO crews are not included in the establishment figures.
Ambulance Officer/Paramedic Safety General Updates
St John have stated there has been a reduction in lost time injuries and that all AMs/HLMs and ORMs have undertaken training in manual handling to provide a resource for operational crews and educational support. The CPAT lifting crew staffed by PTS with additional devices will be placed on a ‘stand-alone’ roster. St John stated that the majority of back up calls for lifts occur between 09:00-21:00. After discussion St John stated this resource should be implemented ASAP.
Slide sheets and the lifting belt are also to be introduced immediately and the training will occur during CEP. Currently two thirds of all ambulances have been fitted out with the Strykers and the complete rollout is still on schedule for completion at the end of this year (2023).
Rostering General Updates
St John identified that they require more resourcing between 18:00 to midnight (surprise, surprise) and that there have been no decisions made on any metro rostering pattern changes. St John have asked for rostering ideas from the AEAWA for both metro and country locations as at this point, they have been unable to find a solution for this problem. The AEAWA reiterated that they have sent numerous rostering ideas to St John so a generalised email search would find numerous solutions to this issue, which the AEAWA would be more than happy to discuss.
Discussions occurred around staggered start times and the blanket St John plan (introduced in 2021) for any changes in altering rostered start and finish times of the 2/2/4 or 4×4 roster. The AEAWA stated there has to be some recognition by St John that the 2/2/4 roster has to be fully resourced.
New locations were also discussed (Fitzroy Crossing, Derby and Rottnest Island) and added resources such as Extended Care Paramedics into certain locations. The DIDO and FIFO rosters would be required in order to staff some of these locations and some mining companies have agreed to fly officers both in and out of certain areas to assist in staffing these areas.
There was a St John proposal for the current Community Paramedic roster to change to 8/6 and potentially a 4×4 back-to-back roster to allow officers downtime. There is also a need for CPs to take on a more clinical roll, hence why there have been numerous training officer positions advertised in some of these areas.
Members have contacted the AEAWA over commendations either taking months to be sent out, or not even being sent at all. This is not good for morale considering complaints are handed to the crew almost immediately. Is there a process in place that could speed these up?
St John stated that the process being reviewed as the commendations are currently being managed manually which is time consuming. The AEAWA believe complaints are dealt with rapidly by St John and commendations to be prioritised.
The Protective Equipment Trial
Members have contacted the AEAWA not happy about St John entering the Body Cam Trial. Many members believe this will be used by ER to punish officers for wrong doings rather than to limit the rates of occupational violence.
Some of the questions asked were.
Can we refuse to wear them?
How are the officers chosen for the trial?
Will they be managers?
St John said that no decisions have been made yet and that there will be an expression of interest to be a part of the trial.
Workers Compensation Issues
Members have contacted the AEAWA as they have been off work for some time and awaiting Alianz the insurer to accept their workers compensation claim. Some officers have been off for months with no contact from Alianz. Members are not even being contacted by St John about the status of their claim. Can the St John advocate more for their employees during this process? At the moment many employees are feeling abandoned.
There was formal recognition that this is an accurate assessment and because of depleted resources there has been a void in continuity of care for individuals. Employee Relations have addressed this and believe employees are now being contacted and informed. The AEAWA would like any officer who has not been contacted to contact the Association for assistance.
Uniform Working Group Update
The AEAWA would like to know the status of this working group, as nothing appears to be happening. What is the status of this group and when are the meetings to be held?
St John responded by saying the uniforms have gone out to tender and that Karen Stewart may lead the group moving forward.
Rosters Asking Employees Booking Off the Reasons Why
Members contacted multiple delegates recently over a new booking off procedure placed by St John with zero consultation. Members are being questioned and advised by rosters that they now have to record the actual reason and illness. Why have St John introduced this?
St John stated that they are trying to establish a pattern of behaviour to facilitate personal leave cover eg. Respiratory illness, gastro, fatigue and implement measures to prevent further book offs. They re-iterated that this is a “welfare” issue and nothing more.
The AEAWA were advised that a process needs to be standardised across rosters and SOC and are concerned with St John tracking trends in individual officers, which could be used as a punitive tool. The AEAWA reinforced that employees are under No obligation to give specifics on book offs.
Tutor/Student Overtime Capabilities
Is there a SJA policy in regard to overtime between Tutor/Student. There are numerous inconsistencies with OT, depending on who you ask some officers are being permitted or denied the extra shift. This causes confusion and is reducing night shift capabilities.
The AEAWA have continually stated that any “probationary” AO/Intern should be a resource that is drawn down to cover Pandemics/Natural Disasters/Unplanned Leave due to their competencies in manual handling/equipment/medications/procedures and policies.
St John articulated the current SOP states probationary AO’s cannot work overtime. The AEAWA disagreed with this interpretation and stated that the organisation is not supporting officers who are under resourced on night shifts. St John continued to elaborate that it was a clinical and psychological risk if crews could not support each other after a horrific event if they were not continually rostered together (8-week Tutor/Student).
The AEAWA again stated that this was potentially a resource that could be utilised for a positive outcome. The was some discussion and concern that management were deliberately undermining an opportunity for providing the community a clinical response.
The AEAWA advised St John, that although they were denying AO’s an opportunity to work overtime with a Paramedic, Metropolitan Operations were comfortable rostering AO pairing on overtime, which effectively debunked St Johns response that AO’s need time to study andnot be fatigued and should not be permitted to work with previous Tutors.
Many of the agenda items were not discussed as the meeting concluded and the AEAWA will write to St John to have these items responded to.