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Ambos warn that staff cuts are putting the public at risk

THE state's peak ambulance union has backed claims from paramedics that a shortfall in staff is delaying response times and putting the public at risk.

United Voice Queensland believes the Sunshine Coast arm of the Queensland Ambulance Service is so under-staffed, management is often relying on overtime to cover shifts.

The union is seeking a meeting with the Queensland Ambulance Service assistant commissioner on the Sunshine Coast to further discuss the dire situation.

An experienced paramedic, who wished to remain anonymous, said the Coast service was down between 10 and 12 staff last weekend, between Friday and Sunday.

Ambulance officers received text messages at 11am on Thursday, February 27 notifying them of "multiple shifts" to fill during the course of the weekend.

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The paramedic said the texts were sent to all staff regardless of whether they were rostered on to work already or not, resulting in some afternoon staff being asked to work overtime to fill the void.

"Staff are fed up being asked to work an extra two hours to cover night shifts," the paramedic said.

The paramedic said a Brisbane crew was called to attend a job on the Coast to cover the shortfall - an uncommon procedure.

The Queensland Ambulance Service denied it had happened.

"The general concern is that resources haven't been increased on night shifts particularly and for some time we have had these shortfalls that are being only partially filled by overtime and the rest are remaining unfilled," the paramedic said.

"I think the management knew about this shortfall potentially weeks ahead because the rosters are done three months in advance.

"This is a risk to the public."

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said rosters were done three months in advance and were filled on a rolling basis by casuals.

Topics:  emergency services funding hospitals queensland ambulance service staff cuts united voice


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