Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 February 2018) . . Page.. 475 ..
Clearly the ACT Ambulance Service provides a timely, high quality and effective service for the people of the ACT. Of course the government should continue to monitor these figures and liaise with those in the Ambulance Service to identify issues as they arise. But it is a nonsense for Mrs Jones to assert that somehow resourcing is impacting on the performance of our ambulance service. It does not, by those figures, appear to be reflected in the data. I think that there is perhaps a disconnect there between the argument that is being put and the data that we have before us.
I do agree with Mrs Jones that the government must be prepared to adequately resource our Ambulance Service to respond to the needs of our growing population. That is why the government has committed significant additional resources to the Ambulance Service through this year’s budget review process. Over $10 million was provided to fund the recruitment of 22 new paramedics and a new mechanic, in addition to the recruitment of 11 paramedics already underway.
ROGS data further confirms that the government is continuing to invest in training our future paramedic workforce. In 2016 there were 262 student enrolments in accredited paramedic training courses, and 51 students in their final year. We cannot afford to be complacent but from this evidence it seems that the ACT Ambulance Service is one of the best performing services in the country.
We had a valuable discussion on issues related to the ACT Ambulance Service last week and the minister agreed to look into a range of matters that were raised. It is clear that much of what Mrs Jones has asked for was already covered off in last week’s motion, while the questions on overtime have been responded to in this debate. I believe it is right to give the minister sufficient time to undertake the review and properly look into the minimum crewing metric, while continuing to monitor issues relating to resourcing and staff wellbeing. For this reason the Greens will not be supporting Mrs Jones’s motion today.
MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (11.38), in reply: I thank the minister and Mr Rattenbury for their contributions. It is not surprising that we are back here again this week discussing the Ambulance Service. It should not be surprising to anybody, because in the motion last week there was not sufficient information given, the workforce is not satisfied by the minister’s response, and this is precisely the right place to come back and ask for additional information which has not been given.
The minister says that he can provide information today—not an exhaustive list but a list—of some of the reasons why overtime is worked and also that some of the overtime worked has been worked by the broader emergency services workforce, the office-based support staff, although I hardly think that ambulance officers have been coming to me to complain that their workload over the past several years has been becoming unmanageable because of overtime having to be worked in the head office.
It is very interesting that the minister says that the Chief Officer of ACTAS is comfortable but I am here to tell you that the staff are not comfortable and the staff are not satisfied. And the mere fact that they have come into the data as people achieving some of the best response times in the country has been at the expense of