On Wednesday we received a response from the Director General of the Department of Health, Dr D J Russell-Weisz (attached), in respect to our request for access to hospital amenities for ambulance staff. Click here to see the letter.
The response details the available facilities across metropolitan Perth and regional WA, and affirms our right to access and make full use of these facilities when required. Knowledge that we have a right to access these facilities, rather than informal ‘local courtesy’, will hopefully mean ambulance workers feel more comfortable in accessing and making use of these spaces.
The initial raising of this issue with both St John and subsequently the Health Department, was sparked primarily by the removal of ED-based facilities at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, which has led to an increase in staff eating in their vehicles at this hospital.
In respect to SCGH, the response from the Director General outlines shared facilities on the 8th Floor of G Block. We therefore encourage our membership to use, as directed by the Health Department, these facilities. We understand travel to this location may increase ‘turnaround time’.
This response from Health, while welcome in the sense that it confirms our rights to access Hospital facilities, is not entirely the outcome we had hoped for; which was a dedicated space for ambulance officers to at each hospital. Being a mobile workforce does not absolve either organisation of the responsibility to provide safe working environment and access to suitable facilities, and we will to continue to work on a strategy to improve conditions in this respect at the upcoming negotiations.