The United Workers Union (UWU) has welcomed the State Government’s intervention to help prevent the total breakdown of the St John Ambulance service.
According to a Ministerial statement, the government has been forced to take the reigns following multiple failures in service provision which potentially contributed to the death of a Perth woman over the weekend.
The union has been warning St John was ill-prepared to deal with the Omicron outbreak since January, but these warnings were not heeded by St John. Prior to the borders opening, the union met with St John on multiple occasions offering a host of solutions to the pending crisis.
It has been reported that the operator has also failed to draw upon resources from other emergency departments such as Department of Fire and Emergency Services that have been available.
UWU National Ambulance Coordinator Fiona Scalon said she was relieved the McGowan Government was stepping in for the sake of ambulance workers and for everyone who relied on a functioning emergency service.
“St John is claiming they couldn’t foresee this inevitable crisis. This is just a convenient excuse. There were plenty of levers they could have pulled before it got to this point,” Ms Scalon said.
“Well things are now at breaking point and I can only hope the Government’s strategy can help alleviate the huge amount of stress that St John staff, including paramedics, are under,” Ms Scalon said.
“This is only a stop-gap solution. A complete overhaul of the service is desperately needed. St John have dropped the ball and is doing the WA community a disservice.
“The ambulance service is an essential government service and as such should be run as an essential government service, not one controlled by private interests and associated low levels of transparency and accountability.”
The union has been campaigning for WA’s ambulance service to be brought back into the public sector for more than five years.
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