HACSU MEMBERS are proud to stand up and fight for the health system Tasmanians rely on from birth to death - a system that's broken, starved and criminally neglected by our health minister and government. That’s why they held stop work meetings at hospitals across the state this week, and that’s why more than a dozen of them got up and spoke so passionately at those meetings.
ROYAL HOBART HOSPITAL: Lauren, Intensive Care Paramedic: “The first thing people say when they hear you’re an ambo is, ‘you must see some terrible things.’ And we do. Our workplace is dangerous and it’s unpredictable.We have unfilled positions across the state. We rely on people working overtime to get an ambulance on the road when you need our help. We run short because staff physically can’t work any harder. We have good people propping up a broken system, and it is breaking them, both physically and psychologically. We are the lowest paid ambulance paramedics in Australia. We are not competitive against mainland services. How do you recruit and retain good people when the health system is so broken?”
LAUNCESTON GENERAL HOSPITAL: Sally, Hospital Aide: “I work in mental health. I love working in this area and the team I work with.The thing is, the team is getting tired. We’re doing endless double shifts, working understaffed which can make things unsafe. It affects patients up in Emergency when we don’t have enough staff to take new patients – what happens to them? We need a pay rise to attract and keep workers in Tasmania so we can provide proper services to the people of our island.”
NORTH WEST REGIONAL HOSPITAL: Dayna, Food Services: “I have been a loyal worker, as have my co-workers. We come in early and knock off late just to get through the ever-increasing workload. The workload increases weekly and morale goes down daily. Making ends meet is getting harder and harder. We all need a pay rise.”
MERSEY COMMUNITY HOSPITAL: Andrea, Admin: “Last week at our local primary school, a 6-year-old child was critically injured by a falling tree limb which snapped in the high wind. The little boy was pinned underneath. The ambulance was called immediately, but the Ulverstone crew was ramped in Burnie. Burnie and Devonport crews weren’t available. A crew from Latrobe responded and the response time was 35 minutes. That’s not Ambulance Tasmania’s fault. The community doesn’t blame paramedics for a moment. But it proves we need more ambulances and more trained paramedics. Where is our health minister? Missing in action!”