Tasmanian paramedics are being asked to drop to part-time work to combat burn out, using sick leave due to fatigue and many are now actively looking for other work as ambulance services face pressure due the overwhelming demand and lack of resources to cope with the high demand on the system.
In one example of the pressures on paramedics, a patient in the Royal Hobart Hospital was taken to hospital after suffering a mini stroke, despite the seriousness of what the patient has suffered, the patient was kept waiting in a hospital corridor with the ambulance paramedics and suffered a second stroke in the hospital corridor with paramedics required to continue to care for the patient until finally they were handed over to hospital staff.
A health union has expressed distress in its letter to Ambulance Tasmania’s chief executive expressing concerns over the emotional wellbeing of the staff members. In a survey commissioned by ambulance Tasmania, it showed that their staff suffer from depression, anxiety, stress disorder, use of drugs and despondency. Seventy percent of the staff who responded in the survey declared trouble sleeping.
Tasmania’s ambulance service was already critical when the Shadow Health Minister Anita Dow said last December “Our state has some of the worst ambulance response times in the country, ramping is getting worse at our major hospitals and just last week it was revealed that police are being forced to attend to patients when ambulances are unavailable.”
The system needed critical help even before COVID-19, now it has grown even bigger and there would be a back log of unaddressed issues with Ambulance Tasmania now and this is after five years since the Tasmanian Government promised to put patients first.