Paramedic hits out at pressures

Growing pressure on fewer front-line staff was being ignored as management jobs appeared to multiply, the letter said.
Growing pressure on fewer front-line staff was being ignored as management jobs appeared to multiply, the letter said. Jason Dougherty

A DISGRUNTLED paramedic has attacked the Queensland Ambulance Service, warning of neglected hinterland towns and overbearing management.

In an unsigned letter to the Daily, the writer said he had more than a decade of experience as a paramedic.

The letter was a result of "built-up desperation" for change.

Growing pressure on fewer front-line staff was being ignored as management jobs appeared to multiply, the letter said.

These were often filled by staff trying to escape the grind of night shifts and poor working conditions.

The views were rejected by the Department of Community Safety, which represents the QAS.

The union for ambulance workers - United Voice - conceded there were problems but its representatives did not know specifics.

The writer said morale was deteriorating as paramedics worked without proper meal breaks on a 12-hour shift.

"(Management) believes it is okay to allocate a half-hour meal break at 3am in Beerwah to a crew from the northern end of the Coast," the letter said.

"They believe this is okay even though the crew is an hour's drive from their station where their home-made meals are in the fridge."

The QAS is accused of covering up station closures to save on paying overtime.

"Often when someone calls in sick, (QAS) don't call in a staff member who has made themselves available for overtime," the letter said.

"This is a dangerous and unethical way of reducing their overtime budget.

"For example, in May 2011, for two nights in a row the Beerwah station was closed both Friday and Saturday nights.

"This is a dangerous practice that left the entire hinterland uncovered and at risk."

United Voice area ambulance coordinator Jeanette Temperley agreed there were staff shortages but could not comment on apparent station closures.

She said staff shortages could contribute to front-line staff moving into office roles.

"There are people who move into those management roles for different reasons," Ms Temperley said.

"It is possible some of them may not want the pressure on the road."

A Department of Community Safety spokeswoman said being forced to close a station due to "unfilled shifts" was rare and only occurred if there were no other options.

The norm, she said, was that more than 99% of shifts were filled.

The spokeswoman said the Coast was not losing staff because it was a sought-after destination.

"In the past 12 months, no paramedic has left their on-road position to move into a clerical role in the Sunshine Coast area," she said.

"The area has 206 full-time paramedics - including officers-in-charge - and one area director position."

There were another five "regional operation supervisors".

"This is a dangerous practice that left the hinterland at risk."

Topics:  ambulance emergency health hospital paramedic

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Summer's Day still resonates

SUMMER'S DAY: Andrea Shoesmith, second right back, with the Trewantin State School students remembering Summer Steer.

Message about battery safety

Friends of Lake Weyba help clean up

CLEAN TEAM: Raffi and Trinity Sonner, aged eight and 11, are part of the Friends of Lake Weyba Clean Up Australia crew.

Clean Up Australia Day is almost here

Local Partners

Davo's expanding Noosa store

MORE than 30 years after Davo's Bait and Tackle opened in a small timber cottage on Gympie Tce, the transformation into a large, thriving business is complete.

Maleny Players have one-act plays for all tastes

Three one-act plays are coming to the hinterland

Help muscular dystrophy with much more than morning tea

TEA TIME: Raise a cup to help muscular dystrophy.

Raise a cup to help cure muscular dystrophy

Cough up for FurBall tickets and help the animals

FURBALL FRIEND: Julie Penlington, from 4Paws, with Charlie.

This is the kind of FurBall you want

What's on the big screen this week

HUGH Jackman returns one last time as Wolverine in Logan and the iconic Australian novel Jasper Jones comes to life on the big screen.

Walking Dead villain takes on new role in The Missing

David Morrissey, Keeley Hawes, Abigail Hardingham and Tcheky Karyo in a scene from The Missing.

Walking Dead villain returns to screens in mystery show, The Missing

Holly Valance caught up in $213m lawsuit

Holly Valance

Lawsuit alleges blackmail, extortion and intimidation by Candy pair

Lifesaver for a day: One-of-a-kind Coast tour

The Mooloolaba Surf Club is launching a new tour of the club and beach that educates visitors about life a as surf lifesaver. Getaway is filming a segment about the tour with presenter Charli Robinson.

Behind-the-scenes tour of surf club attracts television appearance

Bundaberg: No one does life like us

It's the spirit of Bundaberg and it's about to go global in a $20m campaign. With celebrities coming to the rum city to shoot new commercial.

The Rum City hits screens around Australia tonight

BOOKS: Superstition a central theme in new outback thriller

Author Cassandra Austin.

Cassandra Austin is celebrating the release of her second novel

MKR recap: The secret ingredients to longevity and success

It’s chilli con carnage on MKR.

‘Turn up the heat’ means chillies. Lots of chillies.

Iconic North Coast post office up for sale

HISTORY: Nicole Swain is selling the historic Bangalow Post Office building this month.

Post office comes complete with the historic Lest We Forget clock

Opponents question Sekisui's 68% support claim

VIEW: An artist's impression of Sekisui House's proposal looking towards Mount Coolum.

Developer says it has 68% support, claims which raised some eyebrows

Old fireman's hall to make way for Maccas carpark

Workers remove the roof from the old firemans hall in Limestone Street in preparation for its demolition to extend the McDonald's carpark.

Demolition workers move in on Limestone St property

Next phase of Coast's new $174m beach city revealed

ON THE TABLE: A 30-unit development has been proposed for Birtinya Island, close to the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Island living opportunities on the table with latest proposal

Major Burrum Heads development to go to vote

Site development plans for the proposed lot conversion at Burrum Heads, near Beach Dr.

Councillors will vote on the lot conversions.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!