Instead of improving the work conditions for ambulance officers clocking thousands of hours of overtime, Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman will abolish the long standing minimum crewing requirement, Shadow Emergency Services Minister Giulia Jones said.
Since 2002, ACT Ambulance Service has operated with a minimum crewing level. In 2013, the crewing level was set at 10 emergency ambulance crews per shift, plus two additional demand crews each 24-hour period. In 2016-17, 303 of 730 shifts fell below this minimum crew level.
“This is nothing more than a grubby cover up,” Mrs Jones said.
“Almost half of all ambulance emergency shifts in 2016-17 were understaffed. Instead of solving the problem, Mr Gentleman is doing away with the minimum crewing measure which serves as an accountability measure.
“Meanwhile, demand for ambulance services has increased by 25 per cent.
“Earlier this year we learned through a freedom of information request that the Minister sat on poor minimum crewing data for over 100 days, seeking to delay and avoid public scrutiny while he tasked the public service with political spin.
“The minimum crew requirement has been good enough for the past 16 years, but now that the Minister looks bad, the government has chosen to abolish it.
“The Minister is shifting the goal posts to avoid responsibility,” Mrs Jones concluded.