Tuesday, 22 July 2008

NSW given ambulance ultimatum

Ambulance officers have given the New South Wales Government 48 hours to commit to increased staffing levels or face a lengthy industrial campaign.

About 200 officers have marched to Parliament House in Sydney this morning, calling on the Government to hire an extra 300 ambulance officers and 60 patient transport officers.

They also want the service's senior management sacked over what they call a culture of bullying.

Health Services Union general secretary Michael Williamson says officers have had enough but will not take action that puts lives at risk.

"That would be totally irresponsible to do that," he said.

"This is a group of people who aren't irresponsible but they're frustrated.

"The government has an opportunity to fix this. This is not rocket science, all they have to do is put the sharp on, this problem can be rectified."

Mr Williamson says ambulance officers cannot cope any longer.

"We are currently at the same levels of staffing that we had in 2002 and these not withstanding, also there's been an increase in workload of 5 per cent per year every year since then," he said.

He says the rally has the support of every ambulance officer in the state.

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