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AEAWA Bulletins

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Police non-attendance at VKI received calls - May 3rd 2024

Police non-attendance at VKI received calls.

The AEAWA are aware of multiple instances within the last two weeks whereby our members have:
a) been tasked with calls of a suspicious nature originating from VKI.
b) had requests for police attendance declined multiple times.
c) been placed in significant danger in extremely high-risk situations as a result.
Our members will be aware that, effective 1st December 2023, all requests for WA Police assistance by St John Ambulance are subject to ‘rigorous’ assessment and management by the Police Assistance Centre (PAC) and Police Operations Centre (POC). This effectively means that if a POC manager can (in any way) link a VKI call to ‘healthcare’, the job is passed to SJA.
VKI also initiated the wholly inappropriate deletion of 50% of our internally generated location warnings. To be clear, our view is that WA Police management had no business interfering with legitimately created internal safety warnings which belonged to St John, a (private) company. It has become clear that this statewide initiative uses our members as the ‘canary in the coal mine’ to assess the scene and determine whether police should attend. We are being sent to police calls instead of police.
If a member of the public calls 000 and requests the police, the police should attend; they should not send an ambulance instead.
Our recommendation to our members is as follows:
If you receive a call that the AmbiCAD displays as from ‘VKI’, please have a VERY high suspicion that the 000 caller likely believed:
  • a crime to be in progress or
  • a crime to have already occurred, or
  • persons at the scene may present a significant threat.
If the job call comes from VKI (meaning VKI was requested by a member of the public who called 000) and circumstances suggest risk to the crew, we should proceed to the call and wait nearby for the police.
Police non-attendance is not an ambulance problem.
We should assume the caller had some information that suggested police were necessary. As far as we are concerned, that constitutes a genuine safety concern.
Do not refuse to attend the call; instead, proceed to the location and wait for the emergency service that was actually called. If you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact a delegate. If the matter is urgent, or you are experiencing pressure to attend a scene you feel is unsafe, please use the numbers available on our website:
Please make sure you notify us of any incidents or near-miss incidents at
Please also report any near misses using MyOSH official channels – request P8 if necessary.
In closing, please remember that our colleagues working in the police liaison role at POC, SJA Communications Officers, and Dispatch/EMD are not at fault here. These colleagues do an amazing and often thankless role, and find the current police initiative as challenging as we do. Our issue is with senior management decisions within WAPOL, not with our police colleagues on the front line.
AEAWA Executive

WAPOL Refusing to attend our calls - December 2nd 2023

As you will be aware a recent WAPOL directive has been sent out to the fleet stating they will not be attending many of our historic calls for assistance. Over half of the warnings, we had on our system are now deleted.

So, now we have instances where patients on scene have been threatening to kill others and the Police are refusing to attend.

This is beyond dangerous for all front line crews

If you arrive at a scene or are sent to a call where you and you perceive a threat on route. CALL FOR POLICE, that’s your job done! It is NOT OUR JOB to enter scenes such as these, its theirs. If they don’t want to attend, then we do not go in. ITS THAT SIMPLE!

Officers who feel pressured to enter a scene they perceive is dangerous should NOT GO INTO IT.

The AEAWA will support its members 100%
Everyone deserves to go home after shift, uninjured.

Booking Off Sick? - June 24th 2023

It has come to our attention that St John have instructed SOC and Rosters to “capture” why officers are booking off and are asking above the standard “sick” or “personal” leave, what is the reason you are off. Many officers have contacted the AEA, and the advice given is the current requirements as follows.
  • You must give at least 2 hours for a day shift and 4 hours for a night shift where possible.
  • You will be asked if it is personal or sick leave.
  • You may need to submit a medical certificate or a Statutory Declaration.
  • Either is acceptable evidence.
  • You do not need to provide anything further.

Section 33.3 (h)
St John may require an Employee, and the Employee must provide, satisfactory documentary evidence in relation to a period of personal/carer’s leave. The Employee must provide to St John a medical certificate from a registered health practitioner. If it is not reasonably practicable to provide a medical certificate, the Employee may provide a statutory declaration, which sets out the reasons for the Employees absence from work and the estimated duration of the Employees incapacity.

Section 33.3 (i)
An Employee is required to provide evidence/certification for any personal leave exceeding 2 continuous days or where they have taken in excess of 4 calendar days in any calendar year.

The Lawful Directive - January 20th 2022

Workplace Law: Fact of the Day

An employer can give you lawful and reasonable instruction, and wilfully ignoring a lawful and reasonable instruction can be considered serious misconduct which can lead to termination. The crucial issue is whether an instruction is ‘reasonable and lawful’.

An employee cannot be expected to follow an employer’s directive ‘if carrying out such a directive would cause serious or imminent risk to the health or safety of the employee or other workers’. Refusing to follow a directive under such circumstances does NOT constitute serious misconduct and therefore CANNOT result in summary dismissal.

The AEAWA would consider inadequate Infection Prevention & Control measures as constituting a serious/imminent risk to the health of yourself, your co-workers and your patients, especially during a declared health emergency pandemic. Therefore in our opinion an instruction which would lead to such an OH&S risk will be neither lawful nor reasonable.

Managers Working in Ambulances - September 23rd 2021

In accordance with our EBA, any manager (whether operational or clinical, on secondment or permanent appointed) seeking to work an on road shift with a Paramedic or Ambulance Officer, needs the prior agreement of the rostered officer. This is part of our EBA, and affords officers protection against potential conflict of interest occurring, in the course of that shift, or in relation to previous and future disciplinary process.

Prior to the commencement of the shift, you should have been contacted by rosters to gain your consent. Of course there may well be no issues on many occasions, but if an officers feels uncomfortable through previous managerial interactions, they have the right to refuse and we will support them 100%.

Ramping Directive - July 9th 2021

This morning you would have received an email from the St John WA Ambulance Service Director. This email was sent during a meeting between St John management and the AEAWA regarding their intended ramping strategies. During the course of this meeting, St John WA sent the email to the workforce before any real consultation had taken place, and certainly before the meeting had even concluded. A section of this email states that ‘double up of suitable patients is mandatory’.

This was not discussed in the meeting. As we have previously, we would like to take this opportunity to remind our members that so called ‘multi-patient care’ is not endorsed as routine by the AEAWA, and it is an issue which we remain in dispute over.

The AEAWA object to the use of the term ‘mandatory’ without providing suitable qualification on the following grounds:

  • NO true consultation occurred, and the email was sent before feedback was received.
  • The CEO has on numerous occasions stated to the media that paramedics are not trained or equipped to deal with ramping.
  • The Medical Director has stated ‘ramping poses a significant clinical risk’.
  • The AEAWA believes this constitutes a ‘major change’ to our employment conditions and are more than happy to challenge this through the Fair Work Commission.

Despite this directive, the Patient Flow and Ramping SOP remains the guiding document in relation to ‘multi-patient care’. We would remind our members that suitability (or not) of a specific patient for ‘multi patient care’ is determined, as per the SOP, by a clinical ‘discussion between the ATTENDING OFFICERS’ of both crews. It is NOT a clinical discussion between the HLM/AM as they have played no part in either patient’s clinical care, nor will they play a part in clinical care going forward.

For the benefit of our members, the SOP states that certain patients ‘may not be suitable for multiple patient care’ including:

  • those affected by drugs (and/or) alcohol.
  • those that require one on one care or have complex needs.
  • patients with more complex social or medical issues that still require one on one care, for example contagious illness, potential absconders.
  • patients requiring ‘ongoing cardiac monitoring’.

It is our view that the wording is clear; the SOP indicates that there are a range of patients that are unsuitable for ‘multiple patient care’ including patients requiring ongoing cardiac monitoring.

In relation to ‘ongoing cardiac monitoring’ the Clinical Services intranet site ‘Lessons Learned’
dated 13th January 2021 states: ‘Where available, almost everyone should get an ECG’ [and] ‘Broadly speaking, if your patient falls under any of the Neurological, Respiratory or Circulation CPG, there’s a very good chance that the patient should have at least a 3-lead ECG applied’ [and goes on] ‘In conclusion, in most patients & as a bare minimum, a 3-lead ECG should form a part of standard monitoring & observations.’

The safety of our members and our patients is paramount.

There have been a number of serious clinical events occur on the ramp, so please be mindful of this additional clinical risk when accepting multiple patient care arrangements. It may be necessary to request an additional CorPuls monitor if requested to undertake multi patient care.

SJA has had ample time (in fact 12 years) to work alongside the Department of Health to understand the most significant question in relation to ramping; who owns the patient? As always contact an AEAWA committee member should you have any issues.

Spare Officers - June 18th 2021

Recently we have been contacted by an increasing number of our members who have either been called or texted by the staff deployment team while OFF DUTY. This has resulted in interrupted R&R, interrupted sleep between night shifts, interrupted family time AND can often result in excessive travel time to different depots, when officers feel obliged to make an extra effort to get to the new depot on time.

We would like to remind our members of the following:

  • You are under NO obligation to answer a mobile phone when off duty. You are under NO obligation to read a WORK RELATED text message received outside of
    shift hours
  • In fact, you are under no obligation to own a mobile phone.

The AEAWA believe it is important for the health and well being of our members to be able to peacefully enjoy time off…time for which they are NOT BEING PAID. The organisation has an obligation to adequately recruit, train and retain staff so that shifts are covered. It has a responsibility to have enough ambulances to run the service. It is self-evident that SJA like to rely on a proportion of Spare officers per roster to help fill cracks in the system, but you are under NO obligation to facilitate this mechanism (which is generally only beneficial to SJA) by acknowledging calls or texts while OFF shift.

For example, should an officer receive a text message in advance of their night shift, advising of a change of depot, they can rest assured that they will be completely secure in ONLY checking their phone AFTER arriving at the depot they were originally rostered to, and then using a WORK vehicle / ambulance to travel to the requested destination.

Most insurance companies do not cover the use of a private vehicle to travel BETWEEN work locations, they simply cover the commute TO and FROM work. When signing your registration declaration, it usually asks for private or work related use. Once on duty please ensure you use an AMBULANCE to move to your alternate depot, only AFTER your shift has commenced, and that you RETURN to your rostered depot in time for the end of your original shift.

You are entitled to request a return to your starting depot, in time for the end of your shift. If you choose to answer your phone prior to the start of your shift and are given an instruction to relocate, then you must comply, but you should claim ‘Time and Travel’ to the new depot.

Please note this advice is given without taking anything away from the hard work undertaken by our dedicated rosters colleagues. They do an absolutely AMAZING job given the current circumstances. We simply ask that our LEADERSHIP place less pressure on our rosters colleagues to interrupt downtime, so that adequate resourcing occurs, and our members can enjoy the full extent of their time OFF DUTY.

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

Contact us and become an AEA Committee Member.