New England paramedics say stations fail to meet needs of workers.

CALLING FOR ACTION: Australian Paramedics Association delegate Scott Clarke calls for local stations to be upgraded. Photo: Gareth Gardner
CALLING FOR ACTION: Australian Paramedics Association delegate Scott Clarke calls for local stations to be upgraded. Photo: Gareth Gardner

AMBULANCE stations around the region have been labelled unfit “for human habitation let alone as workplaces for paramedics”, as the union ratchets-up its campaign for upgraded stations.

The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) has said stations at Ashford, Wee Waa and Tamworth City “fail to meet the needs of paramedics because of their poor condition”.

“NSW Ambulance is aware that stations like Wee Waa, Tamworth City and Ashford are well past their use-by date and now having to accommodate more paramedics than they were designed for,” local APA delegate Scott Clarke said.

The APA have called on NSW Ambulance to release its Buildings Condition Report which was commissioned earlier this year, after the union first raised concerns with local stations in June.

“Our members deserve proper modern workplaces with decent conditions and facilities, not these old decrepit buildings that need to be pulled down,” Mr Clarke said.

“In one station, paramedics had no drinking water and it took months to be addressed; in other stations basics such as heating and furniture are an issue.”

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In June, the APA claimed New England paramedics were rostered-on without vehicles, working in out-of-date and rat-infested stations, and driving to urgent call-outs without radio service.

A NSW Ambulance statement, at the time, said maintenance issues were dealt with ‘on a priority basis’ and listed Tamworth as on its priorities.

“NSW Ambulance has commissioned a Buildings Condition Report for the 239 properties across NSW,” the statement said. 

“This report prioritises work as priorities one, two and three to determine the allocation of Repair, Maintenance and Refurbishment (RMR) funding on a priority basis and Tamworth is part of this maintenance.”

The report has since been received by NSW Ambulance, but it remained tight-lipped on which stations would be prioritised.

“The reports identify work as priorities one-to-five to determine the allocation of RMR funding on a priority basis,” the statement said.

“These internal reports will be used in informing future confidential tendering processes.

“$890 million will be invested in ambulance services in the financial year 2017-2018, an increase of $74 million from the previous year.

“More than $100 million has been allocated to capital works in the same period.

“Investments will improve paramedics’ work conditions and provide additional relief in regional New South Wales.”