09:30-11:30 on August 3rd, 2022
John Thomas and Lee Waller
Mike Hardwick, Dave Higgins and Conrad Fairhead.
Joe Cuthbertson, Rene Anderson, Karren Stewart, Joel Moore and Justin Fonte.
Metro BCP Level
SJA commenced with stating that at the moment the organisation sits at BCP level 3 and all managerial roles such as Clinical/AMs/HLMs/ORMs have been working on road. Basically, if an individual in these roles hold an AHPRA paramedic registration, they have been utilised to work on road until the limited numbers of staffing levels is resolved.
Country BCP Level
Esperance and Newman are currently at BCP level 4; whilst Broome and the Wheatbelt remain at BCP level 3 along with the Southwest and Kalgoorlie (which is expected to drop to BCP level 2 shortly).
Call Volume Above Expectations
Currently the workload has increased by 7.5% which is above the estimates SJA had determined, this coupled with ramping well within excess of 5,000 hours is putting plenty of pressure on standby capacity which currently sits at 26%.
Low Urgency Transport Vehicle in Geraldton
This has been placed in the region to free up paramedic response to the community as paramedics were generally out doing low priority calls when emergency calls came in. The success of this ‘pilot’ will be tabled at future JCC meetings.
WACHS and SJA (Simon Hughes) have been working together to reduce ramping in country regions. These meeting have just commenced but information about these meetings will be sent out once available.
Difficulty in Filling Country Locations
Permanency/Postings/ or Country Relief vacancies have been difficult to fill recently. Members would have noticed that vacancies placed on the intranet are often re-advertised numerous times, and in some cases have gone to AP1’s and even AO’s in Bunbury.
Discussions with SJA will commence on the ability to attract officers to hard to fill locations. The AEAWA are advocates for role incentives in order to attract officers to these locations. SJA would like to meet later to discuss the possibility for these positions to be filled with officers on a ‘drive in drive out’ or ‘fly in fly out’ roster. To date there is no firm plan and ideas have been sent through to the Directors in order to commence further discussions.
SJA have stated that this Winter could be difficult with an upwards ramping trend and potential COVID-19 spikes and also the normal winter respiratory issues. The focus is on having resources to meet the demand. SJA are currently reviewing a low acuity response model in order to free paramedics up for emergency calls. More information to come soon.
Trends in ramping are increasing, however shift extensions across the fleet have in fact decreased. SJA stated the 224 shift extensions on the day shift were down from this time last year (305 hours to 240 hours); 224 shift extensions on the night shift were down from this time last year (115 hours to 1000 hours), and the 4×4 day vehicles were about the same (190 hours per week).
Due to COVID-19 many of the planned security updates have either had delays or have ceased completely. Issues with computer chips for CCTV have been detrimentally impacted. Long delays are expected. Merriwa Depot is the next to be secured due to multiple security issues at the station.
The Recruitment Process
As most would be aware issues with the recruitment process seen the formation of a Recruitment Committee during the recent Paramedic/Ambulance Officers EBA negotiations. A draft document around the new processes would be circulated and feedback provided from the AEAWA. More information to follow soon.
The CPAT Vehicle
Volks Wagon and the engineers are reviewing the vehicle specs and changes will be requited to be signed off by the Department of Transport. There have been lengthy delays. The Working Group has been in a hiatus for some time due to COVID delays. SJA are to re-open a new Working Group, and anyone on the previous group can reapply to the new one.
Stryker Stretcher Update
Currently there are 38 Ambulances with Stryker’s on board, every depot has at least one stretcher while a total of 9 depots have two. There has been some confusion around the retro fitting of the Stryker’s. Some have been told these are only placed into new builds, when some depots have had them fitted into existing vehicles and some brand-new vehicles which are supposed to be fitted with the Stryker’s have had Ferno’s placed in them.
Further updates on the rollouts will be made available to officers shortly, however delays have been occurring and Mercedes have stated they are having issues accessing new vehicles.
Due to high workloads and limited staffing (that right situation normal) discussions occurred in relation to the commencement of CEP. Basically, the organisation would like to delay the program until more staffing arrive. There would be an issue trying to facilitate CEP in the current environment. More information to follow soon.
Low Staffing Levels
A discussion took place around SJA depleting 224 resources. Basically, current practice seems to be move staff off the night shifts to work on these Demand Rosters (day times) and back fill the 224 nights with overtime; not as many are taking this up as expected. The AEAWA stated that all 224 positions should be filled then offer the overtime to fill the day shifts, there would be more takers!
Volunteer Fatigue Monitoring
Officers in the country have stated they often come to work and the volunteer they are working with have come of a volunteer night shift or have been working extensively before shift commencement. Its difficult for those officers to ascertain if their officer is fatigued. SJA also stated it is difficult to monitor and currently there is some work in the background regarding fatigue monitoring across the organisation.
The AEAWA would like to advise all members that if they feel unsafe due to your off-sider being fatigue they should raise this with management and then contact the AEAWA for further assistance.
Single Officer Response
On many occasions’ officers in the country, who can not get a volunteer partner have often attend the call by themselves with assistance from another agency, RFDS/WAPOL/Nurses etc. The AEAWA would like to advise members that these external employees more than likely NOT trained or authorised to use our equipment and any issue that eventuates from this type of response may create further complications. For further information please contact an AEAWA delegate.
Recurrent Closures of Mandurah Depot
On many occasions’ there are no crews or just one crew in the Mandurah area, a location of more than 100,000 people. This lack of resourcing places pressures on the surrounding fleet (Dawesville/Pinjarra/Secret Harbor etc). SJA were asked why this is constantly occurring and what is the plan to fix it.
Basically, it’s due to officers in that depot are in country positions or other secondments and have not been back filled. There are few officers that live in that area so it is often difficult to fill as employees would need to travel long distances to work there, and this basically goes against the fatigue monitoring. Further discussions will take place on how to get officers to work in that location will occur.
WAPOL Declining Jobs
Lately as WAPOL appear to be extremely busy too, crews have been advised by SOC managers that there will be no Police assistance due to no crews available. Sometimes crews are stating they are feeling pushed to respond to calls that are flagged with no assistance.
This is a Safety Issue and if crews feel unsafe, they are to only enter violent or flagged scenes once it had been deemed safe by WAPOL, there delay is not the AEAWA’s concern, your safety is. SJA are in agreeance and have also suggested contacting the DM or CSP and advising them that the Police need to attend.
SJA sent out an email in February to all Senior SOC managers advising them that crew safety is paramount and that crews should not be pushed to respond to these types of scenes.
Support Person Being Denied
Some members have advised the AEAWA that they have been initially denied a Support Person or been told they do not require one for this meeting. On some occasions they have been told that if they bring a Support Person to the meeting this will automatically escalate the issue. This is not the case, a Support Person or AEAWA Delegate are there to support you. This is to ensure that your rights are protected. Many of these simple ‘chats’ come back at a later date as a file note, and it is advisable that if you are being spoken to regarding an issue at work you are well within your rights to be supported.
SJA have stated they would always offer a Support Person whenever the employee requests one, and in most cases, it is offered before the meeting commences.
Paramedics Declined OT as RASOs are Working at the Location
This is becoming less of an occurrence, however there are still reports of paramedics calling in for OT and being denied, only to find out that a RASO was rostered in the position. SJA have stated that Paramedic/Ambulance Officer overtime is the first preference and any time this process is not being followed SJA would like to know times, dates, location and who denied the overtime.
Priority 3’s Do We or Don’t We!
An email was sent out stating that Paramedic crews are not doing P3 calls. This created some confusion across shifts with some following the email and other not following it. At the meeting that email was not known about, it was an email sent to SOC and that crews are to be dispatched when required for low priority calls. Obviously with the planned move of PTS being in the SOC this should eliminate many of these ‘take home’ P3s.
Students Failing Transition or Intermediate
A clear direction was requested from the College as there is a lot of confusion around relating to the failing of either the Transition or Intermediate courses. It appears that some students have been told different information, some believe they have a chance to resit the school, whilst others have been provided no such opportunity. We understand circumstances are different, but this seems widespread across multiple schools.
SJA do understand that it is dependent on what school was failed, student attitude and marks in other areas etc. But will chat to the college in order to eliminate future confusion and perhaps produce a document so that the student know from Day One would happen if they fail.
Increased Staffing Levels
SJA have stated there will be an extra 60 Direct Entrants in the next three upcoming Schools (August through to October) and 70 students in the new year. There is a preference to look for Direct Entrants, however with so many other Ambulance Services looking for the same individuals, this is harder to achieve.