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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 474 ..


amount of overtime. Mrs Jones has again brought some interesting information to the attention of the Assembly but I would suggest that the issue may well be more nuanced than what is being presented.

I cannot claim to be an expert on ACTAS shift rostering practices. There will likely be a range of factors which contribute to staff working overtime shifts. Leave for other personnel, periods of increased demand or unexpected absence due to illness are a few that would come to mind if one were to sit and reflect on this.

I understand that working overtime shifts is a regular part of shift work and not every overtime shift worked reflects a shortage in personnel, and Minister Gentleman has outlined some of those reasons today. I think that has given us some useful additional information, including his observation that not all the hours identified in the motion are in fact worked by paramedics but are worked by other staff in the service, as well as some of those, I think, very important activities that might not be seen to be core business in the sense of going to retrieve people who have been injured or have illness but go to the important community presence that the Ambulance Service needs to fulfil, as well as things like training and attending internal meetings.

I think Minister Gentleman’s remarks today have been helpful in helping all of us understand more clearly what some of the reasons are for that serving of overtime. What it underlines is that these matters are complex, and we of course need to consider all the relevant matters when debating what it means. This is a raw number. The important thing is to understand the implications of it. And based on the information the minister has provided today, I do not draw the same conclusion as Mrs Jones has sought to from these statistics.

I do not think it is clear that the number of overtime shifts worked indicates that there are significant shortages in staffing for the ACT Ambulance Service. Furthermore, this conclusion would be inconsistent with the advice from the ACTAS Chief Officer who has indicated he is comfortable with the current resourcing level.

As we discussed last week, the performance of the ACT Ambulance Service is amongst the best in the country. This is shown in the following figures from the 2016-17 Report on government services: firstly, the proportion of patients in the ACT who felt that the level of care provided to them by ACT paramedics was very good or good was 97 per cent, equal with the national average. Also, the proportion of patients whose level of trust and confidence in paramedics and their ability to provide quality care and treatment was very high or high was agreed to by 92 per cent, again equal with the national average.

Ambulance code 1 response times were 14.3 minutes in the ACT, the best in the country, compared to 17 minutes in South Australia for example, 17.3 minutes in Victoria and 20.8 minutes in New South Wales; 95.8 per cent of triple zero calls in the ACT were answered within 10 seconds, compared to the national average of 88.9 per cent; 91.5 per cent of patients who received care from the ambulance service reported a clinically meaningful pain reduction, compared to 86.2 per cent nationally; and the ACT’s survival rate for cardiac arrest events was 55.6 per cent, above the national average of 50.4 per cent.


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