Paramedics are feeling the strain of their heavy workloads.
Paramedics are feeling the strain of their heavy workloads. Alistair Brightman

Opinion: Workload of paramedics needs attention

THE work of paramedics is never going to be easy, and it is always going to be stressful.

Few of us are able to say we go to work expecting to save lives, but that is just what our paramedics do.

Add to that they often do that work in dangerous situations, particularly the paramedics rostered with the helicopter rescue services, and a description such as admirable doesn't do them justice.

And then these days they face the added danger of coming under life-threatening, physical attack while they are doing their job.

So it is no wonder, when you throw 21-hours shifts on top, that they are feeling the strain.

The view of the Australian Paramedics Association is that of a representative union and probably makes the most of the difficulties its members face, but it is impossible not to feel sympathy for the pressure they are under.

The overtime shown in the NSW Auditor-General's report is an illustration of that pressure.

So as we go into the Christmas holidays period when paramedics are particularly busy, the pressure should now be on the NSW Ambulance Service and the State Government to address the APA's concerns.

Our paramedic workforce is too good to lose. If there are men and women at risk of being burnt out and lost to the profession, that is an issue that requires urgent attention.


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