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Communications Officers

The AEAWA Communications Officers Committee

Kam Phagura 9334 1404
Blue Shift SOC

Nick Willis 9334 1404
Blue Shift SOC

Communications Officers Certified Agreements

Here you will find all of the Certified Agreements related to Communications Officers.

The State Operations Centre Joint Consultative Committee

Here you will find information related to the JCC meetings.

SOC JCC Minutes

AEAWA SOC JCC Minutes from September 21st, 2023

Meeting Chaired By
Wil White.

Meeting Conducted
13:00 – 1500.

Committee Attendees
Wil White, Clint Spanhake and Florentina Min.

Committee Apologies
John Thomas, Mike Hardwick and Nick Willis.

State Operations Center – General Updates

Call Taking Percentages
Call answering is currently sitting at 96.7% for the financial year and the room has been very close to 100% multiple times this year. Yesterday (21/09/2023) for example call answering sat at 99.3% which is commendable for all those working in the SOC and Wangara Hub.

Staffing
Currently there are 127 FTE Communications Officers on the books compared to 88 in 2021 (this is not including ANCs and RTMs). There will be further Communications Officer courses run in November 2023 for 11 new officers, and a course in January 2024 for 10 new officers. There will also be another OSO course and an OSO conversion course later in the year.

Refurbishment
Upstairs is getting a fair bit of work done on it, and with this there will be three quiet rooms available 24/7. Training room 16 is being relocated to ground floor as roof is about to be dismantled. This new room will have access to the kitchen, but the walls will not extend to the roof due to airflow in that area of the building.

There have been no decisions made on the Pindan building; if its going to be renovated or bulldozed and built up. Demolishing the building would most likely be the best option as the area can be designed specifically for SOC use. The board have to sign off on the plan and the costings for the project. These updates will be provided to all staff via communication updates, once available.

Safety Committee Updates
Wil White will be leading the subcommittee on fatigue under the overall safety committee. St John would like to see employee representatives, Health and Safety representatives and SOC/Wangara Hub employees provide input across these meetings. Items such as fatigue management and implementations such as crew take overs, return to work, extended ramping, and shift swaps etc will all be discussed.

St John have reviewed the meal break percentages and state that only 25% of the crews are being assigned their breaks. The most of these are within the country regions, there was no metro/country split between the breaks presented. The successful applicant to monitor fatigue will sit next to the ANC and close to dispatch.

The State Health Operations Center
A budget is about to be submitted to Treasury, who have a range of options. They will most likely have access to monitor the dashboard and will likely have a percentage of the workforce working in a new facility with STT etc. Currently there has been lots of discussion to move into the Telstra Exchange building in Perth. Premier and Cabinet and all boards are keen to review this. The Interhospital Transport System Flow and Management will be located there too. Currently there are no timeframes assigned to this move, but the initial processes have already commenced.

The AEAWA stated there needs to be significant consultation with the workforce, as this would certainly be classed as a ‘major change’, and in order to improve the workplace culture staff should not be finding out late in the process. The AEAWA also stated that staff who work in the room would be the best people to assist in the design of it, they would know what would make the working environment better to work in, not managers. Employees should be able to provide their input. St John agreed and further consultation with the workforce will occur soon.

The WA Virtual Emergency Care staff are co located with STT monitoring low acuity nursing home patients, this will go across the seven days over the coming months, but no current plans to do this 24/7. They have a number of ‘exclusions’ for patients they can be involved with, these exclusions will also be explained in further communications. STT are looking to increase to 24/7 for low acuity patients. The Odyssey and Astra constructed tool will assist this process as a secondary triage tool.

Take Five Cards
Take 5 cards will be introduced to all SOC and Wangara employees soon. If you take a stressful call or are involved in a stressful situation you can walk over to the DM and show them the card. With no questions you will be given a five-minute break to go and reset. This will be managed and further reviewed after its implementation.

Headset / Equipment Updates

Headsets
The current headsets are a few years old, and St John believe it is time to look to trial new ones. There are many new devices on the market, and many look better than the ones currently used. St John will once again bring a few of these into the room for employees to trial. Feedback from previous trials appeared to narrow down into a few specific areas. Employees do not want it to get to hot to touch, they do not want it to be heavy and the material has to be breathable. Some were initially comfortable to wear but after a full shift wearing them, they became an issue.

St John believe the Jabra devices used by the ADF look the best on the market, and these will most likely be used in the trial.

Laptops
The laptops have been recently approved. Employees will soon be able to use these to google addresses etc and they will also be used to replace the old flip charts used in manual mode. St John have had a look at the NSW Communications Centre and were impressed with their set up. They currently have three screens, a keyboard and a mouse on the desk. It is very user friendly, and also looks better as it takes up less room on the desk than a laptop.

Mesh Chairs
The Mesh chairs will shortly need replacing as they are near the end of their life span, new chairs will be reviewed shortly.

Meet and Greats with Country Crews
Soon there will be an EOI for dispatchers to go out and see the regional areas. St John are quite keen to get us out there talking to the country crews, for us to hear their concerns and for us to raise ours. This will certainly improve relationships and may fix some of the frustrations both parties may have.

Technology / Systems / CAD Updates
The new update was live and piloted yesterday, feedback was provided whilst it was being used. It currently has a colour change in the last 30 mins of shifts for crews and a different colour change for those on shift extensions. These different colours are used to alert dispatchers of who needs to go first. The Version 14 upload requires a meeting with a Medical Director to occur, as the system will push more Priority 1’s into 2’s and more 2’s into 3’s. Which should improve response times.

IAED Recertification and Training Modules
Members raised the concern that completing these modules on shift is often difficult trying to read and work under exam conditions with noise in the room.

The AEAWA would like to know if there is the ability to have a separate location away from the room for staff to complete this training or can they do it on overtime if officers wish to? This has been brought up before as its often distracting. The modules with audio components are the hardest to complete within the room. St John responded with training room 16 for this however, it is often full Monday to Friday. Staff can utilise this area on weekends or on nights and St John are happy for staff to do it on overtime.

Audits
Again, members have brought to the AEAWA’s attention audits being performed by personnel who are not their peers. This would not happen in any other area or the organisation, so why is it being done for those in the SOC and Wangara Hub? St Johns stated this will cease January 2024. The plan is to employee those who have used the system to do the auditing. They will be located close to the room and will be able to assist in understaffing in the room.

They will be tasked with educational development and this area, and the Quality Assurance team will see approximately 11 officers across both teams. As usual they will not be there 24/7, like most roles in the organisation they will be permanent full time working Monday to Friday. This has been an AEAWA agenda item for some time and is extremely welcomed. Reports are escalating about the current inconsistencies with auditing as those who are tasked to do them do not really know the job.

Some of the auditor’s feedback are for staff to follow a process that in fact contravenes another St John policy. This is why this system is unfair, provides no educational outcomes and is simply a system that needs to be replaced. Until this is implemented the AEAWA would like to see a basis in which our members can approach management to state why they disagree with the audit, as currently members can not do this. This is why the current process is so floored. St John are happy to review the process and will return shortly.

Building and Construction at Belmont
There is much concern over the upcoming construction at Belmont. The noise levels whilst staff are trying to listen to calls is expected to cause some issues. What are the plans St John are putting in place to reduce these issues.

St Johns believe the majority of construction will be over the next two weekends. This will be the loudest part of the process as they are currently drilling into concrete in the basement. The property team checked the roof space to ascertain if there was enough of a sound barrier located there for future works, and they believe there was. Most people are being moved to Wangara or the PTS space until these works have finished, and it if affects the room too much then everyone may have to work out of one of those locations.

Managers in Greens
Members would like to know why managers are now being instructed to wear the green uniform? St John wanted to introduce this to have everyone in the same uniform to promote more of a team relationship with staff. The AEAWA stated that previously, only those contained within the Certified Agreement wore the ‘green’s, this is something that the vast majority of the membership are hesitant about. Its difficult for a manager to reprimand an employee one minute then be part of the team the next. Further discussions will most likely occur soon.

Vacuum Cleaner
The new ‘quiet’ vacuum cleaner used by the cleaners is not very quiet and causes distractions within the room. Members have approached the AEAWA stating it is difficult to listen to callers whilst this is being used around the desk. The AEAWA would like to see no cleaners in the room during shift change and hand over periods. Currently St John are reviewing this and looking at other models.

Mapping
Many of the mapping jobs are being plotted to the wrong locations, and there are not enough details coming through. The AEAW believe it benefit to add a drop-down menu located on the screen so employees can click what issue has occurred. This will capture the data on the issues, is it a system error etc.These errors can then be reviewed, and the data obtained should be able to make change and reduce these errors over time.

Half Shifts Being Offered
Dependent on the day or who is in rosters depends on the shift length you can do on OT. If a text for overtime goes out, some officers are allowed to come in between school hours, whilst others are being informed, they need to do 07:00-13:00 or 13:00-19:00 or the whole shift. This is a double-edged sword, on road as most in SOC would be aware, crews knock off at that 02:00 time, leaving little resources until the day vans commence. St John need to make the process fair for everyone and subject all those seeking overtime to the same conditions.

Carpark
Apparently, a notification went out about the carpark being updated in January. Staff are supposed to park at the pindan building. The AEAWA would like to know if SOC staff will have to park there. This will lead to some serious safety and security concerns if this is the case. St John were not aware of this but will find out.

MOU For POC
In November the MOU was signed with WAPOL and soon an EOI will go out for officers to be placed at the POC. This process may take a little time as background checks will need to be performed on employees entering the POC.

Meeting Closed
13:47

Next Meeting
TBA

AEAWA SOC JCC Minutes from March 10th, 2023

Meeting Chaired By
Wil White.

Meeting Conducted
13:30 – 1430.

Committee Attendees
Lee Waller and Kam Phagura.

Committee Apologies
John Thomas, Mike Hardwick, Kami Evans, Liz Jaggard and Nick Willis.

Staff Numbers Within the SOC and Wangara Hub
The current staffing levels sit just under establishment numbers. St John have said that there will be an upcoming Communications Officer school with nine officers and a school of ten Operational Support Officers. The Assessment Centres will commence in November 2023, this will take the numbers within the room to above establishment levels. This is a number not seen in the SOC since 2016/17.

Current Call Time Performances at the SOC and Wangara Hub
The current number is 96.4% of calls are being answered within the ten second timeframe which is an amazing achievement considering the current staffing levels and increase in wcall volume.

Staff Working out of the Wangara Hub
St John stated that currently there is a problem with supervision with employees working at the hub. Mainly as most of the managers are working out of the SOC. St John are currently working through ways to solve this issue and will provide further information soon.

Differences Working Across Shifts
Multiple members have stated their frustration over working across shifts and how things in the room are done so differently. St John want to introduce further role clarity to reduce these occurring and will discuss these ideas at further JCCs.

Moving the SOC
There has been discussions about moving the SOC to a different venue as they have outgrown the room. Talks about taking over the PinDan building on Great Eastern Hwy have been occurring, along with other locations. There is also discussions around co-locating with the Department of Health. There is also the possibility of another site to allow all three services (Police, Fire and Ambulance) to work out of the same location.

Headset and Equipment
Radio network is in its last stage in life. After multiple discussions with the AEAWA over the last two to three years the acoustic shock devices were installed to protect employees against acoustic shock incidents. These devices are now old, and St John would like to see if better/safer equipment is available. WorkSafe have stated that currently they are the best on the market. St John want to get some new devices and run a trial to see what employees want.

Technology / Systems / CAD
St John are about to commence a ProQA version upgrade to update mental health calls. It allows for more flexibility in asking questions to these types of patients.

There will not be as much prompting for answers as the previous versions had which will lead to fewer mental health patients getting frustrated on the phone.

CAD upgrades and a new mapping system is about to be released, this will be the 4th attempt to do these upgrades. Although the room has redundancies in the system (i.e., manual call-taking) are there, St John do not want to use this due to the pressures already in the room.

A date for this upgrade will be provided shortly, but we do know this is occurring on Green shift.

Progression Update
St John provided lots of emails with links to the various SOC roles (OSO, Comms Officer to the Duty Manager). This will show what pathway an employee must take to move to the next classification within the room. For example, how many shifts an Operational Support Officer has to do in their role before they apply for a Communications Officer position.

Streamlining the process still needs to occur, but St John want the AEAWA to review the documents and provide feedback. The AEAWA just want to ensure that the times within a role to apply for the next position is similar to what is happening now.

St John have reviewed their progression plan, in the sense of what happens if someone fails the transition from country to metro radio. The AEAWA will be provided further information on this in the coming weeks.

Managing Abusive Caller Policy
The AEAWA are happy with the concept, however it requires changes. The section where it states a call-taker being abused must transfer and alert the Duty Manager so that the caller can receive a warning needs amendment. What happens if the Duty Manger is out of the room, or busy on another call (code black, major incident etc). There needs to be the ability for the call-taker to move this to another manager. There is also a minor issue where the diagram (flow chart) is slightly different to the wording in the paragraphs above.

St John accepted this and stated they would look into who else could assist if the Duty Manager is unavailable and revising the flow chart to reflect.

Call Reviews
Many members within the room are not receiving awards such as the ‘Stalk Club’ due to St John stating the call must by high compliant instead of compliant. This is not a standard set by the Academy. The AEAWA believe this needs to be dropped back to compliant. A small error of not asking a question that does not affect the priority of the call should not hinder an employee of getting an award.

This is currently being reviewed in the SOC Innovation Group. Other services have numerous awards they present to their staff, where St John do very little.

The TCPR award is only presented if the patient walks out of hospital, members believe this is unfair as the call-taker could have done an amazing job and the patient did not survive so they get no recognition.

St John stated as this award is aimed at people surviving to promote CPR the award cannot be presented; however, the call can be nominated for call of the month.

Meeting Closed
The meeting closed at 14:30

AEAWA SOC JCC Minutes from October 25th, 2022

Chaired By
Wil White

Meeting commenced
13:00-15:00 on October 25th, 2022

Committee Attendee’s
John Thomas, Lee Waller and Callan McClure

Committee Apologies
Kam Phagura, Liz Jaggard and Troy Bates

SJA Attendees
Wil White, Stephanie Freemantle, Bree Jones and Kerryn Welke

SJA Updates
SJA opened the meeting by stating they are very happy with the performance of staff in the room and understand the pressures employees are under.

Staff Planning
Increasing staff numbers within the room is a priority of SJA to alleviate employee stress. They have been made aware of further pressures as numerous staff have trained up to be in various leadership roles which at times has left a void within the room.

The AEAWA are supportive of employee progression but would like to see staffing levels increased to fill the positions that employees are leaving. Members are often left with increased workloads when this occurs.

SJA state the establishment numbers is 156. Basically 118 Communications Officers, Dispatchers and Operational Support Officers. The rest is made up of ANCs, RTMs DMs etc.

Clinical Hub
Increasing staffing has occurred within this area of the organisation. Clinical Nurse Specialists, Registered Nurses, General Practitioners and Paramedics make up the team to reduce hospital attendances. This will become a 24/7 position soon, and further information on this progression will occur in the near future.

Headsets
Acoustic Protection devices were trialed with sound shields. Plantronics headsets were the better products found by staff, however SJA are still not convinced that this is a safe option.

As with the previous acoustic shock injuries the actual issue with the radio network was not found or rectified. So, until the issue(s) is/are found and fixed the AEAWA are not supportive of headsets within the room. Staff safety is paramount over headphones.

CAD Terminal Updates
The scheduled update of moving the CAD onto a domain was met with issues. The update was not implemented due to an issue with the patch. SJA wanted to pass on their appreciation to those who were on shift at the time, and for those who came into help.

Meal Break Management
Officers in SOC are aware of the issues this is causing both in the room and on the road. Managers know that staff do not want to wake crews up to go onto a meal break, but currently there is no other option. There needs to be a better system to reduce this frustration. This will be answered under the AEAWA agenda items.

Abusive Caller Policy
The SDOs are currently gathering data on these specific callers, and the MyOsh issues with SOC staff being unable to lodge certain issues have now been fixed. Flow charts will be placed on MyOsh so it’s more user friendly to use for SOC officers.

Low Morale in the Room
As the organisational cultural survey was highly critical towards an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture, SJA are looking to implement working groups to work together on solutions to limit this gap. Over the coming weeks shift meetings will occur (in person or online) with senior SJA managers so that employees can identify any issues. The AEAWA stated the biggest issue is limited numbers in the room. This creates fatigue, poor audit outcomes, burnout, limited enthusiasm for overtime etc.

SJA would like officers to attend these meeting and raise their concerns.

Employee Overtime
SJA acknowledge the pressures both staff within the room and at the rosters department are under. Overtime texts are ad hoc, with some officers never receiving them. To alleviate this pressure SJA are looking to pilot an App based system where people can see what OT is available and for what position. The OT will be given to the person with the least amount of OT recorded against them on the system. The App will also consider the shifts (what day the OT is available and where you are on your 4 days off). The system will also be able to work out if you are on Annual Leave etc.

As this is a new pilot, only certain managers and rosters employees will control it. The AEAWA asked if the DMs could be involved in the pilot, as rosters close early in the night and the managers running the system may also not be there. At least the DMs are there 24/7, it would be more beneficial for them to contact staff for OT.

Inconsistent Emails Causing Confusion
At one stage staff were receiving multiple emails from multiple sources with slight differences that created confusion. The AEAWA stated that although this has reduced significantly it is still happening. Maybe one source of information would reduce these issues. SJA have agreed to this and will monitor those emails.

AEAWA Raised Items

Progression
Members have been asking for a progression policy. Currently there is no documentation either in the SOC or the college that defines the progression in the room. For example.

  1. How long (in shifts/hours/timeline) is it for an OSO to apply to do the call-taker course?
  2. How long as a call-taker do you have to be able to apply for a Radio Dispatcher position?
  3. How long or how many hours do you need as a Radio Dispatcher to be a mentor?
  4. How long or how many shifts as a Country Dispatcher do you need to do to a apply to be a Metro Dispatcher

The Paramedic/Ambulance Officers Certified Agreement has the time frame to move into various positions, but we don’t. This is making it confusing on who can and who cannot apply for roles within the room.

SJA are very supportive of this and will place a SOC progression map onto Connect once completed.

Audits
The AEAWA have raised numerous times that peer reviewed audits are more palpable to employees. To assess a call and provided the feedback the person should be qualified in the role and the processes. SJA are currently looking to implement this.

They have also looked at officers who have left the SOC role (still in the service and qualified) to assist with the audits.

Overtime Process
What is the current process for overtime? There have been numerous occasions when we all know we are going to be short on a shift, but no overtime texts have gone out. Does the DM have the ability to authorise someone in the room to contact people after rosters have knocked off for the day?

SJA – The DMs can authorise OT, and the new pilot will investigate these problems and hopefully rectify it.

Staffing Levels
Again, we appear to be back to below minimum numbers. This is placing pressures on the officers within the room. When is the next SOC intake, and how many are OSOs and Communications Officers are in those schools?

SJA stated there is currently a Communications Officer school in progress with 8 officers, an OSO conversion school with 4 officers, a school for 10 Communications Officers in January as well as another OSO conversion course with 4 officers. Work with the college has occurred so that these courses can be more streamlined.

Recruitment Process
Last JCC it was discussed that there was approximately 50% of call-takers/OSOs that were employed have already left. A discussion took place on potentially having officers within the SOC appointed to assist in the process of selecting people for the role. Has there been any traction on this?

SJA stated that this has been occurring, Communications Officers had been involved in the recent recruitment processes.

Allocating Meal Breaks for Crews
There has been a lot of kick back from crews on road on the process of allocating meal breaks, particularly on nights. On occasion we are waking crews up to take a meal break. Is there any way we can streamline this process?

The AEAWA believe that a message on the AmbiCad on night shifts should solve the issue. A crew will know if they have had a spoilt meal break, when they see the AmbiCad. We are happy for further discussions to occur.

IAED Recertification and Training Modules
Doing this on shift is often difficult trying to read and work under exam conditions with noise in the room. Is there the ability to have a separate location away from the room for staff to complete this training? This has been brought up before as its often distracting. The modules with audio components are the hardest to complete within the room.

SJA stated the training PC is in the wrong place and understand the difficulty in using this during busy times within the room. There will be a CAD PC placed in the training room for staff to use. Also, Wil stated his office has a training CAD so outside of business hours both his and Austin’s PCs can be used in the short term, until a better location can be arranged.

Seniority within the Room
Besides pay, there is little difference between a CO1-CO4. Members would like to see this seniority rewarded. For example, those who are CO2 and above can apply for Radio Dispatcher positions etc. This means staff have the time to develop as a Communications Officer before they apply for a Radio Dispatcher position. Other Certified Agreements within SJA have something similar but Comms do not.

Members are happy for further discussions around this to take place, and suggestions to be tabled. SJA are in agreeance with this and want to develop a working group and have further discussions around this.

Correct utilisation of the Pools within SOC
At the previous SOC JCC the AEAWA discussed the correct process for filling roles within the room, and the fact that the correct process at times was not being followed. The example provided was the RTM acting in the DM position. Some officers had minimum to no training to take on the role. Another example was an RTM position being filled by dispatchers who are not even in the RTM pool.

SJA stated at the last JCC that they will review these processes and enter further discussions. The AEAWA would like to know where we are in this process.

SJA would like further details around this, they understand on a short-term filling of a position this may occur. They stated that if at any time this process is not followed correctly to provide the details and it will be reviewed.

Onboarding v Retention Numbers.
During the meeting the AEAWA asked SJA to provide the onboarding and retention numbers from the previous schools, matching these against the numbers within the room. SJA will provide this information to the AEAWA as soon as possible.

Next meeting
TBA

AEAWA SOC JCC Minutes from July 28th, 2022

Meeting commenced
13:00-15:30 on July 28rd, 2022

Committee Attendee’s
Lee Waller, Troy Bates. Justin Brenna, Liz Jaggard and Kami Evans.

Committee Apologies
Kam Phagura

SJA Attendees
Wil White, Rene Anderson and Stephanie Freemantle

SJA Updates
SJA opened the meeting by stating they are very happy with the performance of staff in the room and understand the pressures employees are under.

New Staffing Levels
Unfortunately, approximately 50% of the new call-takers have either left or have not passed the assessments so there are fewer numbers than expected to assist with the workload. SJA believe that the recruitment process needs to be altered in order to recruit the right people to the position and have engaged people in the room to assist in the recruitment process. They know the job better, so their input should help in getting the right people.

Operational Support Officers
The role is now permanent and is a great outcome for everyone as it will be seen as a good transition for all. Officers could effectively transition from a communications officer to an OSO and vice versa, some of the OSOs have already stated they would be happy move into a communications officer position. That training will commence at a later date. In future recruitment processes if more communications officers are required then the OSOs will be given the opportunity to apply for the position.

SJA would like to see the OSOs placed into the next Communications Officers Certified Agreement, during the negotiations.

The Low Acuity Response (LAR)
The LAR low acuity response model winter strategy is trying to ensure we send the right resources to the low acuity patients (ie transport or medics). PTS dispatch will be in SOC until the end of the winter. We will have more people in the room when this occurs. Training areas or the old clinical cell can be utilised if there are too many in the room. This is expected to be a small period of time.

The Clinical Hub
Members would like to know what is happening with the Clinical Hub and how this will affect numbers within the room, i.e., will officers need to move out of a location so that others can be placed in these areas? How many people does SJA need to fulfill the clinical role within the room? SJA have employed x2 Clinical Nurse Specialists and two Registered Nurses to join the clinical Hub, so that patients can be diverted away from calling ambulances. Clinicians will review the cohort of low priority patients. The secondary triage tool is also being reviewed. Numbers will be reviewed at future managerial meetings.

The Perspex screens in the room
These have all been removed as many officers complained of the excessive noise and the reflective glare of the screens.

Uniform committee
An EOI for SOC employees to join the uniform committee will be sent out to all officers soon. Uniforms will be aligned to the greater organisational uniform. A survey will go out to all SOC staff regarding uniforms to gain an understanding of what employees want. The survey questions have not been written yet, so it may take some time before this process is up and running.

SOC Innovation Group
The AEAWA wanted to understand why members were not being released for any meetings. Some officers were able to attend on shift, others were told it was too busy for them to attend (even though the workload is always going to be extreme in the room).

SJA have stated that they do want officers to attend these meetings. If an officer is scheduled for a workplace meeting and they are advised, they cannot attend should contact Wil White or the AEAWA to organise being released.

Crew Breaks
Our Radio Dispatchers would like a better understanding of how crew breaks work, especially now they will start happening with paramedic crews. There is no information on how, when, what circumstances can these breaks be given to crews. Some breaks are occurring 60-minutes before shift ends.

SJA stated that with the PTS leader in the room, this process will be easier to follow, as breaks will be organised and assigned from them. The AEAWA highlighted that there is no policy for our members to follow. The CAD updates for meal breaks has occurred and feedback will happen soon.

Breakout Rooms
The breakout rooms have been raised numerous times, and as there has been an increase in people within the room, this issue is at the forefront again. Even though there appears to be office space to utilise as a breakout room, they are planned to be used very soon.

There is an acknowledgement from SJA that we have outgrown the space, any increases in the next year will place us at capacity. They are aware and are reviewing this, a refurbishment of another building may be needed in the near future. The DMs have been instructed not to use the breakout rooms and the feedback from across all shifts is that this process is being followed.

Shift Start Times
SJA have been approached again with officers commencing shift at 07:00 and leaving at 06:30 and not completing their 12 hours, this is placing extra pressures on staff in the room and is unfair. SJA state the option is to develop CAD to monitor booking on and booking off times. The concept of a live ‘war board’ in the SOC has been reviewed, this will also have times associated to CAD logins available.

Some believe this is too ‘big brother’ and would prefer the DMs to discuss this matter with the officers who are doing this practice. SJA stated that the DMs will be given the empowerment to discus this issue with employees that are leaving early.

Demand Rostering
These rosters are being reviewed at the moment so that more staff can be there in periods of higher workloads. To this point there is no information to discuss, but further updates will be provided shortly.

Abusive Callers
SOC personnel can now access MyOsh and use the Communications Officers appropriate tool to fill out. There is now a drop-down menu installed on the system. Officers are urged (if they are abused) to report it.

The AEAWA stated the members in the room want a simple flowchart that is easy to reference, so they can transfer these calls to the DM or disconnect ASAP. SJA will get back to us shortly. SJA did state that “If abusive callers aren’t able to comply then SJA want you off the phone”.

Parliamentary Inquiry
SJA have tabled a response for the Department of Health to review. This is to understand what standing committees’ recommendations will be delivered……….The AEAWA responded hopefully all of them!

SOC Country Managers
Managers working in country recently have been dealing certain calls such as fires, all of a sudden more managers show up. They talk and discuss points and become quite loud and disruptive. Call-takers are struggling to hear calls.

The AEAWA suggest that if this occurs again the DM should be made aware, as the DM has the authority to regain some control back in the room.

ANCs taking Triple-0 overflow
Many ANCs are asking when they are going to be removed from taking overflow triple-0 calls. The organisation gave a commitment in May 2021 that when the OSO roles were implemented ANCs would not be taking these calls. Country and metro RTMs who are PROQA trained are not expected to fulfil this role, why are ANCs required to?

Over a year later, with the OSO program well established these members are still doing this. Members would like to know the organisations commitment to the cessation of this practice. SJA stated they are required to log in to take calls until the numbers within the room are sorted. The ANC is looked upon as a surge call-taking position by SJA.

Correct utilisation of the Pools within SOC
The AEAWA have been approached by members stating that the correct process for filling roles within the room are not being followed. In recent times roles such as the RTM have acted in DM positions with minimum to no training for the officer taking up the position. RTM positions have been filled by dispatchers who are not even in the RTM pool.

There are also cases of country RTMs filling metro RTM positions, some of these officers are not even in the metro RTM pool. Members would like to know the procedure for filling these positions as roles such as the DM have been offered to employees who have had no training for that position.

What happens is people get the tap on the shoulder to do a position then they have an advantage when the job application comes out. SJA will review to these processes and enter into further discussion.

Caller of the Month
Yes, this is great but there is no reward for staff who constantly do the right thing, we acknowledge a good call, but not attitude, behaviours, punctuality etc. Members are saying they want the positivity recognised. Complaints and poor audits are provided regularly, but nothing good ever seems to come out. There is little praise and little thanks in the room. More acknowledgement is needed. Members are saying that the DMs are too busy to reward good attributes.

It was also mentioned that there is a massive disconnect between SJA and the Academy. Regarding the CPR pin and the Stalk club the Academy accept ‘compliant’ calls to be eligible, but SJA will only send in ‘high compliant’ calls. This means fewer staff are recognised for their efforts, purely because SJA believe the standards should be above what the Academy want.

The AEAWA believes this needs to be changed, if ‘high compliance’ is the expectation for everything then let’s start with that expectation with employee numbers and filling the rosters.

Dispatcher and call-taker of the year
The IAED run an annual recognition of the “dispatcher of the year”. St John run this by asking for nominations for “call-taker of the month”, which is then voted for by a committee from across the organisation. They then select and send a nomination to the IAED for consideration at the Navigator conference for Australasia. The organisation appears to have left these recognitions in limbo due to the pandemic, but there is more and more pressure placed on those doing the work in the room.

Other agencies seem to nominate multiple nominees, with even the Wellington Free Ambulance nominating more than one, and yet the largest (by land mass) ambulance service in the world only recognises and sends one nomination. There appears to be no nomination from SJA for 2021. So not one call taker was deemed to have done an outstanding job within the room.

This is why there appears to be a massive ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture, as no recognition for the role is ever given. Are SJA going to amend this and start recognising the great effort in the room and create a better culture of recognition for the officers?

SJA will take this onboard and get back to us to do more nominations from now on.

Lack of Policies
The AEAWA have been made aware of certain emails that are sent to SOC staff outlining rapid changes to normal procedures with no consultation or policy for staff to refer too. An example being recently an email was sent stating that paramedics, due to workload are not to do P3 calls. This is leaving dispatchers confused on what to do with these calls as the email is often misinterpreted by various employees and managers.

The organisation’s delivery methods need refining. It appears unless you are fully aware of Yammer, Face Book, emails and the Connect system you will miss vital information before you start your shift. This is inappropriate.

SJA have to make the decision – does an email from a manager/director conveniently send out at 16:00 on a Friday afternoon override all current policies and procedures? The AEAWA believe to limit confusion SJA have to review this method of staff communication as a priority.

Broken Breaks
Many members have approached the AEAWA stating that their breaks are being broken by managers in the room telling them their break is finished and they need to answer calls. Some members have even been spoken to about leaving the building on a break. This is unacceptable. This is your break; it has been negotiated and signed by the Fair Work Commission. The workload is due to a gross organisational lack of staffing NOT due to you getting a coffee. It’s your break…. Take it. Any issues please contact the AEAWA ASAP.

SJA agreed and DMs have been directed that employees are to take their designated breaks.

Staffing levels within the SOC and Wanagra HUB
Members would like to see a staffing plan and an understanding of how these new people will be placed into the room to ensure there are enough trainers /mentors to facilitate. Is the organisation able to advise the current staffing plan, and how these new staffing levels will coincide with increased call volumes?

SJA have stated there needs to be 6 dispatchers and 10 call-takers per shift and there is no preference to work at either the SOC or Wangara. There is an organisational expectation that both the SOC and Wangara Hub will not be closed unless there is a critical failure of service, or it is being deep cleaned.

RTM located in the same location as Radio Dispatchers
Many Radio Dispatchers are telling us how difficult it is having RTMs located at the Wangara Hub. Often there are delays with dispatching as the RTM in a different location contacts the Dispatcher long after the crew has been dispatched asking for a different crew to do the call. This leads to frustration in the room and often crews are being placed on calls then re dispatched to other locations.

This will be reviewed by SJA and will be discussed at the next JCC.

Next meeting
TBA

AEAWA SOC JCC Minutes from September 17th, 2021

Meeting for the SOC JCC
10:00 till 12:15:30 on September 17th 2021

Committee Attendee’s
Lee Waller, Troy Bates, Justin Brennan and Kam Phagura

Committee Apologies
There were no AEAWA apologies

The meeting opened with the recent departure of Julian Smith from the SOC who had worked for SJA for 36 years, and to wish him well in his retirement from the organisation.

SOC General Updates
Discussions took place regarding the staffing within the SOC. Approval from the directors had been given for an additional two 24/7 Clinical Support Paramedics (at this stage one placed at SOC and the other at the Wangara HUB). The separation of metro and country has been discussed from an organisational point, but as yet no final decision had been made. If a separation did occur this may mean (hypothetically) if country was run from Wangara, then officers who live south of the river may not be able to work on country dispatch and this will lead to skill erosion.

SJA – The implementation of a country and metro 24/7 manager in the SOC would lead to many issues being sorted out immediately rather than waiting for responses during office hours. There is more work being done on this implementation and SOC staff will be made aware of those once available.

SJA – The Operational Support Officer role was discussed, and SJA are reviewing the data (i.e days v nights, and data from pre and post the OSO’s commencing employment). This will effectively show how many they may need. Currently there are 5 per shift and there may only be a need for 3. This would mean that the OSO’s would be given the opportunity to apply for a Communications Officer role. However, they would not need to go through the entire process again (as they have done most of the Communication Officers application process already).

For the OSO’s that do not want to apply are on 12-month contracts, but this does not effectively mean they will have to leave, as the official numbers required have not been set. SJA DO NOT want to see reduced staff levels, especially as the recent data shows a 12% increase in triple-0 calls over the last 2 months.

The numbers currently show that the SOC is 7 employees short (under established staffing levels) and an additional 17 Communications Officers will be employed soon.

These numbers are still below the expected staffing levels set within the Joyce Inquiry of 2010 and the implementation report. However, we do welcome additional staffing in the room.

Headsets/Equipment Updates
The new chairs in the SOC are in place and are the newer improved model to what was originally discussed. Feedback so far has been positive. Regarding the headsets it is still SJAs preference that they are worn whilst radio dispatching to reduce any acoustic incidents. Some employees have stated although the microphones currently in use are great (as they are not being injured), they believe that they are missing vital radio transmissions as they can not hear. This is mainly due to the volume of the other radio overriding theirs. SJA have stated that they will improve the devices if there is a need.

Staff are urged to contact Wil directly or use the FMS to lodge the fault so that these issues are identified and can be fixed sooner. Some members are stating that the feedback issues are still occurring. SJA will review this.

Technology/Systems/CAD Updates
The new CAD update has been implemented and feedback is still being sourced.

AEAWA – Members have stated that there is an issue performing welfare checks on patients who have been waiting for an ambulance for hours. The current system is to have someone call them back. At the moment this is only occurring between noon and midnight. The additional two paramedics slated to work alongside STT have not been released off the road due to the poor staffing levels of paramedics. In essence, if a call-taker has 10 banked up triple-0 calls on their screen, how can they call and do a welfare check. The system DOES NOT have the capacity to safely provide this service.

Currently the RTMs have access to main road cameras as a trial. This has assisted in numerous calls; correctly determining the correct location of an incident to finding a patient who does not know their location. Our members in the SOC would like to see this on more computers to assist them in finding locations. SJA will contact main roads with the positive feedback and see if more access can be given.

Sel Call Failures
SJA provided feedback to numerous failures resulting in delayed ambulance responses, particularly in the Southwest. The outcome was that Radio Dispatchers are Sel Calling depots when there are no crews in the depot, hence they can not answer it. This response was not particularly well received and the AEAWA viewed this as unsatisfactory. Believing it was a ‘cop out’. SJA stated they will log the issues and review where the crews are when they have been sel called to see where the issues are. SOC personnel were adamant that it is a system failure, and SJA need to fix it.

Country Dial Out
Many times, the SOC contacts a crew and for what ever reason the call is not answered. The crew sees the call as missed but have no idea who has called them. Our members asked for the SOC number not to be recorded as a generic number, so crews can contact the person who is trying to contact them. SJA stated numerous works are going on in the background and that this is being sorted. The AEAWA advised that this was listed as a JCC agenda item back in February 2020, as still no resolution has taken place.

Request to Pause the Audit Feedback Process
Members had stated with the workload being astronomically high, and minimum staffing levels being an issue, it was quite unfair to then get hit with a bad audit. SJA (although not advising employees) agreed with this, and the audit process was actually stopped for 2-3 months. It is now currently back in full swing, and employees should see these audits soon. SJA also stated that the new Shift Development Officers (once implemented) will perform the feedback process. So now members should obtain their feedback via their peers and NOT from individuals who have never performed the role before. October 17 is the first ‘conversion’ course for these officers.

Policy that Overwrites the Requirements of ProQA in Urgent Circumstances
Much discussion occurred around surge capacity within ProQA. From answering calls normally to the removal of Post-Dispatch Instructions when the workload becomes exceptionally high. Although it was acknowledged that the removal of certain PDIs do save a  few minutes, with the call volume constantly increasing it is not enough to answer the banked-up calls. The Emergency Disconnect Protocol was talked about, however, SJA have stated this is only to be used during a major disaster and NOT for increased workloads.

Other systems in place (particularly in London), were the structured call-taking questions are aligned to available resources and call volumes was discussed. In essence when workload is extreme, many questions are limited so that the call-taker can disconnect and answer another call. SJA will review these systems and see if there is a place for that here.

It was also noted that Telstra are continually calling the Duty Manager saying they CAN NOT get emergency calls to be answered from the SOC.

Clarification on the Minimum Requirement for Dispatchers on Radio
There needs to be 6 radio Dispatchers and 10 call-takers per shift. However, the call-takers are not just call-takers, they include those who perform other roles such as the EDO etc. Once again this is NOT what was stipulated in the Joyce Inquiry Implementation Report and call-takers logged into the system should just be call taking. SJA have stated they are about to implement another radio school and that Black and Red shifts will be approached first due to the reduced numbers on those shifts.

The Wearing of Headsets Whilst on Radio Dispatch
This was discussed previously in these minutes, and an acknowledgment of the current system not being perfect, it is still the belief of the AEAWA that headsets are not worn at all on Radio. YOU ARE NOT COVERED if you have an injury and the problem HAS NOT been rectified, as they still do not know where the issues in the radio network are.

Shift Preference List Updated
This was updated 30th August 2021 and is currently on the intranet, an example copy was shown at the meeting.

Confirm Defence Service Leave is Updated in the Leave Guide on Connect
As this was in numerous documents the information was conflicted and a link was not active, this has now been fixed and is currently live on the intranet.

New Agenda Items

SOC Transformation Update
Mostly covered earlier, the country and metro mangers were discussed. However, SJA will inform staff of these changes at a later date, as certain items still need reviewing.

Wangara HUB Closures
Some members have contacted the AEAWA stating they have had 90 minutes notice to go to the SOC instead of Wangara, this has created issues in getting to work on time. On certain occasions staff at the HUB have been told to drive to Belmont after they have commenced shift due to reduced staffing. The AEAWA believe this is ironic as the organisation have now lost 2 or 3 employees for 45 minutes whilst they drive to the SOC. The AEAWA have asked for a review on when the HUB has been closed and for what reason. If the HUB is to be closed there needs to be a set criteria of when this should occur, and the correct processes followed. SJA agreed and will review a process for closure.

Standardisation of Shift Protocols
Members have raised concerns of the disparity that occurs across shifts. There appears to be no consistency, and this can be quite stressful for those working overtime on various shift colours and members who predominantly work set days and work across all shifts. SJA acknowledge this and stated this was evident post the introduction of the OSO’s as they were assigned different tasks dependent on were they worked. SJA are looking to initiate set criteria so that this does not occur and will implement this soon.

CEP
SJA have stipulated that the 2-day CEP will be aligned to the current paramedic program. A one day face-to-face and an in-house day. This is due to the issues with aligning all officers to a 4-week program, which is increasingly harder to manage. Especially with the workload as high as it is and taking officers from the SOC/Wangara out of circulation to attend the training program. This places further pressures on employees left in the system. As the on-line program develops SJA will take consultation on set items within the CEP online program. There are specific teachings that are required to be taught, however, there would be the ability to place in employee requested content in the future.

Undercover Parking at Belmont (Night Shift for SOC)
It was identified there is limited number of safe parking bays available for SOC employees, especially during times where the HUB has been closed. Recent events have occurred where members of the public are walking through the car park throughout the night. This combined with the limited lighting in the area, has made the area extremely unsafe of employees. Recently numerous employees had parked in the CEO’s parking bay, and this led to a SOC email advising staff not to park there. Although this area is not identified with a CEO sign (it forms part of the red parking bays). There was an acknowledgement that this bay needs to be vacated as the CEO may come in after office hours. This led to a discussion on the reason why this had occurred; there were NO other bays to park in.

The AEAWA believe that employee safety is paramount. In one case a SOC employee had to stay at work longer due to no staff available to relieve the position. SJA presented data on the bays available at these particular times and that there were bays available.

It was ironic that other forms of data has been requested for months but this data can be supplied in days. It was also noted that it is not just SOC staff that park in the locked undercover carpark area, and in some cases, vehicles had been left in there for a number of days. If there are NO safe parking bays available (and many staff are ending their shifts post-midnight), what is the safe option? SJA will find a solution.

In the meantime, if there are NO undercover bays available and you need to park outside in an area that has already been deemed unsafe (on numerous occasions), then contact the Duty Manager to arrange an escort until a solution is found.

SOC Officers and Senior Positions
To be discussed at the next SOC JCC

Enterprise Agreement Items – Not discussed at this meeting as none were listed.

Next SOC JCC is scheduled for Thursday 9th December 2021 (14:00-16:00). If you would like to list an agenda item for discussion, please contact the AEAWA via email [email protected] or speak with your shift delegate.

AEAWA SOC JCC Minutes from December 18th, 2020

New Chairs for the SOC – Members have stated for quite a while that the SOC chairs have past their use by dates. They have not been replaced for a long time and are used 24/7 and have exceeded their lifespan.

SJA discussed the roll out of new chairs for SOC staff at a significant costing ($70,000) to replace the old chairs in the room. Rollout of these new chairs should occur shortly (this was initially raised in the February JCC), with a hope from SJA management that the chairs should arrive within the next few weeks.

Members want to know when the new headsets are arriving? – Members, tired of receiving constant audio feedback through the antiquated headsets supplied by SJA are asking when safer equipment is arriving. This will significantly reduce employee stress, workplace injuries and time of work for our members in the room.

SJA will report back to employees when this equipment will arrive.

Feedback relating to SOC employee audits – The auditing process is different per officer, there are too many inconsistencies. The auditing process is not performed by peers, SOC officers are audited by office staff who are trained to audit calls, however, they have not performed any of the roles they are auditing. The process is regarded by SOC employees as unsupportive, un-educational and a punitive tool used by management.

SJA state they will change this to make it a fairer process, and will see if the ‘older’ model of auditing (performed by peers) can be re-instated. SJA still believe the audit process is fair.

Leave exchange inconsistencies – Leave exchanges have been denied, whilst others have been approved, the policy appears to be applied differently across the board.

SJA stated the leave policy has been followed, with the minimum of 6 weeks’ notice needs to be given to change leave blocks. They did however state that if an officer needs to change leave as a matter of priority then they should be emailed to assist this change to occur were reasonable.

The shockingly low number of employees in the SOC – Members are concerned of the lack of staffing levels in SOC, this is leading to poor morale and employee burnout. There are multiple vacancies not being filled, and all shifts are experiencing over 400 missed triple-0 calls. Call takers constantly seeing 8 plus triple-0 calls on the screen not being answered.

SJA stated there is a current business case at Director level for sign off for 20 new officers. However, SJA are mindful of staff being subjected to ‘mentor fatigue’; meaning at such busy times and new staff already being mentored they are mindful that staff have been extremely busy and a new run of mentoring will soon occur.

The AEAWA stated that 20 new call takers is just the ‘start’, the Joyce Inquiry into the Ambulance Service identified the need for 14 call takers (with the workload we had ten years ago), we regularly run shifts with half this amount. Currently SJA are in the process of employing 17 new SOC employees.

Poor employee morale – Members believe that high call volumes, low staffing levels and a lack of support are the cause of low morale in the room. Members state the workforce is at breaking point and the new round of audits are pushing staff to high stress levels.

SJA believe some of the previous mentioned outcomes to issues raised in this meeting will certainly help to reduce employee concerns.

The AEAWA agreed ‘as long as SJA actually follow through’.

Inconsistencies with radio dispatch hours – The allocation of dispatch hours was raised again to state the allocation is not equitable and that officers on less than full time hours were receiving more radio hours than others especially on shift crossovers as the DM’s were shift specific with rostering hours.

The AEAWA advised that this was an issue as some officers are being disadvantaged and asked why a non-manager e.g. Country Support could not do the allocations which makes it easier for officers to approach and discuss as a peer decision. Some shift/officers are happy but others are not.

SJA stated they would look at the situation as they were not aware there was an issue.

Permanent positions at the SOC and the Wangara Hub – Members were asking about the creation of permanent positions at Wangara as well as Belmont.

SJA responded that the organisation was looking at increasing clinical presence and that open discussion in regard to location was holding back a decision to make permanent positions for SOC members. At this stage the current arrangement will remain until outcomes on staffing and other attributes were finalised.

HLMs organising one for one swaps at hospitals whilst crews were on the ramp – The AEAWA raised the issue with HLM’s liaising with the ANC when a 1 for 1 swap/transfer was called in by the particular hospital. SOC radio operators are constantly under pressure to clear P1 & P2 calls in the community and without consultation the crew who is ramped suddenly appears on a transfer to another Hospital which has been arranged through the HLM and the ANC; leaving community calls of P1 & P2 still waiting. This should not be occurring as it DOES NOT free a crew from the ramp but simply incurs a further ramping situation elsewhere and increases waiting times in the community.

SJA replied that the HLM are to communicate through the RTM or DM as they are managers and not ANC’s. The preference is to attend to community calls before IHT’s unless the transfer is urgent and is going to a definitive location i.e. not through the ED department where it is likely to have a ramping effect on the crew.

The AEAWA asked SJA to circulate this instruction to Metro to pass to the HLM’s and Communications Centre staff to ensure everyone is on the same page.

AEAWA SOC JCC Minutes from February 19th, 2020

SOP for changing volumes for Radio Dispatchers – A SOP will be written on changing volumes on the radio for dispatchers to follow to reduce injuries. There have been too many acoustic shock events in the SOC. This initial SOP will assist in reducing some employee injuries, but not all.

SJA have currently emailed officers, notifying them of the SOP, and visual warnings next to the desk for staff to follow have been placed.

The AEAWA recognises this is a small intervention as the wider issue is still occurring. The equipment our members are using in the room has been proven to be unsafe, antiquated and responsible for numerous injuries.

Acoustic Protection Devices – In line with trying to reduce employee injury SJA have stated they will purchase 60 Acoustic Protection Devices for both the SOC and Wangara Hub.

SJA have stated these will be installed in the room by March 2nd 2021.

100 MDA Paltronic headsets to be purchased – In line with trying to reduce employee injury SJA have stated they will purchase 100 MDA Paltronic headsets for each employee.

SJA have stated these will be purchased and given to employees by March 2nd 2021.

New chairs for SOC employees – Members at the SOC have stated numerous times that the chairs they are using are uncomfortable and have outlived their use by dates. Numerous times SJA have been approached to purchase new chairs in the room.

SJA have assured both the AEAWA and SOC employees that the new chairs will be provided by March 2nd 2020. 

New screens in both the SOC and Wangara Hub – One of the things looked at with CAD, a suggestion to go from 3 screens to one screen (big HD screen) and allow staff to set the screens up as they wish. This was to allow for a more seamless working environment.

Will be trialled soon, potentially on one radio then is feedback is positive a potential rollout.

Poor equipment in the SOC and Wangara Hub – Poor slow systems, multiple crews can not acknowledge AmbiCad so SOC are constantly asking crews for locations, causes angst amongst all parties and slows down the system. This causes significant stress and can result in crews taking longer to respond to the community.

SJA will review this and will provide feedback. 

Both the SOC and Wangara Hub computer sound cards – What is happening with the sound cards on the computers (not all have them). Employees can not comply with the EMD training modules.

SJA will review this and upgrade any of the computers that do not have sound capability. 

Some computers have been fitted out with soundcards, there are a few that have not.

When is a review of the entire network going to occur? – Potential review of the system to see what can possibly change in order to change things make it smoother and faster. Currently the computers freeze, the headsets vibrate and allow loud shrieks into the employees ears. Multiple injuries have occurred. WorkSafe WA have been involved multiple times and Radio cant seem to fix the issue.

SJA will review this and present findings at the next JCC.

Enough is enough. the AEAWA believe after 14-months and 30 incidents resulting in at least 7 employees needing time off work the organisation seems to be doing nothing to rectify these issues.

SOC employees access to the balcony area – Some SOC staff that use the balcony area for breaks are being advised they can not due to meeting occurring in the area. There are plenty of areas for staff and management to hold meetings, these should not occur in staff lunch areas.

SJA to review any issues, however it was agreed that this area is for SOC staff.

Staff are advised to email the AEAWA if they are feeling pressured to leave their lunch area.

Employed staff leaving for other positions – It was discussed that SJA are recruiting and training staff that are only working in the SOC for short periods of time, i.e., they apply for multi SJA positions, they may work in SOC for 6 months then leave to enter the paramedic training at university. In most cases SJA know this when employing these individuals. This places pressure on SOC staff to train an individual they know is leaving.

SJA has previously discussed this with various areas within and so far, this issue may potentially be ongoing until a solution is found.

Employees not completing their full shifts – Some individuals are arriving to work and not completing the full 12-hour shift, examples were provided on staff arrive at work at 06:50 and logging out and going home at 18:30. This leaves officers who have already worked their complete shift to stay even longer.

SJA do not want to change the times but will if a solution is not found they will have too. An email that you are employed for 12 hours will be sent by SJA, or a start/finish time will be decided by the organisation. Trial to fall back on the duty managers to monitor the times when are people clocking in and clocking out. Perhaps canvas the membership on what they want as well.

PTS Policies – Data on calls taken from SOC for PTS was presented, the hours of PTS had previously changed in order to reduce a multitude of calls being received in the SOC.

Start and finish times for PTS were reviewed and are being monitored. Potential to explorer the inability of SOC to send jobs to PTS 1.5 hours before end of shift. SJA to review these instances and provide feedback.

Constant computers freezing, radio failures, systems that are antiquated – Constant computers freezing, radio failures, systems that are antiquated and obviously are not keeping up with what needs to be required. Further updates to the systems often cause a multitude of issues causing stresses within the SOC.

SJA will review the issues.

Country redial number – Country Redial number country support, can the number be identified so it can come back to caller as callers call back and these are received by the RTM. Phone on dispatch for country, it should be like metro, the dispatcher is performing too many roles as the support is taking ‘000’ calls.

Once staff numbers improve the dispatcher will have a dedicated dispatcher on phone and also a country support officer to assist with the workload.

When is this staff number increase supposed to happen? SJA are currently reviewing the system (advised September 2021).

Extra Country Dispatcher – An extra Country Dispatcher to assist will limit significant employee stress. Country radio is extremely busy and with the person who is supposed to assist is always taking triple-o calls as the employee numbers within the SOC are dangerously low and often result in the community spending minutes trying to get though for an ambulance.

SJA believe this should occur when numbers increase.

The AEAWA would like to know when these ‘apparent’ extra employees will arrive.

Jandakot calls remaining on the system – Jandakot’s often sitting on screens for 24 hours, often causes delays, and there is a potential for calls to be missed. the allocation system constantly looks at these crews being available for calls. Causes significant stress for Radio Dispatchers sorting through crews who can actually attend the calls.

SJA believe the RFDS liaison office should be doing this, cleaning up the screen.

New employee shift allocation – New inductees being provided a permanent shift. They are being told in the college they will be, then they come out and are placed on a rotating shift pattern, this causes issues with childcare and other family commitments.

SJA will look and review, rosters will start going through the list system to fill the gaps in the roster so that students can be placed into areas after current officers are assigned to shifts. Leave blocks may need to change if you move to various other shifts. An April deadline for this process is more likely. A 16 week rotation may occur rather than every 8.

Radio etiquette – Radio etiquette, crews often click instead of acknowledging and correct radio use in some cases are not occurring. This often-required dispatchers to ask multiple times on air for an acknowledgement, which causes delays on dispatching other calls on the screen.

An email to all staff will be sent by SJA as a reminder of correct use of the radio.

The new ‘Sir’ and ‘Maam’ Protocol – The new ‘Sir’ or ‘Maam’ protocol, why is it necessary, creates confusion and staff think they appear unprofessional and not caring.

SJA will review this and review EMD specifics and will proved feedback.

Selcall for Cowcher – A Selcall at Cowcher is required, at times it is difficult to contact the crew.

SJA will review this and a consensus will be sought to see if one should be located there.

Sporting standbys on CAD – Sporting standbys on CAD creates confusion as the crews are coming up for metro responses which at times have delayed responses. We are struggling with no staff to answer triple-o calls, sometimes shifts miss over 400 emergency calls and staff are now logging on country crews for a sporting event. This takes a call taker out of the system for a sporting event.

SJA will review and provide feedback.

Abusive callers – NSW have a Zero Tolerance for abusive callers, some staff are being harassed on the phones and disturbing threats and/or comments are being relayed to staff. There is currently no protection by SJA for these occurrences, and there needs to be. ASNSW did a media campaign around this problem before the policy to ‘hang up’ was introduced.

SJA want further discussions to take place around this.

Country vehicle phones – Country vehicle phones an issue, too many numbers to call, phones in the vehicles, crew personnel mobiles and multiple depot mobiles cause delays in contacting crews. This results in poor response times to the community as valuable minutes are wasted calling multiple phones.

SJA will look into this.

Booking crews off the system on extended calls

Booking crews off on extended standbys, usually happen in country with certain long-term response (i.e bush fire standbys), these are occurring more and it is difficult to book crews off over this time frame..

SJA state this has been fixed.

Country events – Country Sporting events, SOC are placing these events on, receiving multiple calls during busy times, can these not be done by the crew or Regional Office? We are missing too many emergency calls, why are we then stopping answering triple-o calls to log a crew on for a sporting event? Which one of these does SJA prioritise?

Further discussions to reduce these calls have already commenced and feedback will be provided.

SOC Surveys

The Culture Survey

Survey Status – Closed
Data Collected – 11/11/2021 – 29/11/2021
Number of Participants – 486
Survey Results – Click here.

SOC Acoustic Shock Survey

Survey Status – Closed
Survey Data Collected – 03/02/2021 – 16/04/2021
Number of Participants – 30
Survey Results – Click here.

Ambulance State Operations Center News

News articles and media reports relating to your employment will be situated here. If you find articles you think should go up here please email the link to the committee ([email protected]).

If you would like to see positive changes for Communications Officers then be a part of the AEAWA Committee.

Contact us at [email protected] and become an AEA SOC Committee Member.