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The United Workers Union says today’s increase in funding to the health sector while welcome fails to address issues impacting the delivery of quality community care.

Fiona Scalon, United Workers Union National Ambulance Coordinator said there’s a severe shortfall of available ambulance officers out in the community due to the health crisis.

“Today’s announcement falls short of what’s needed to implement hospital diversion and bolster the day-to-day provision of services,” Ms Scalon said.

“Disappointedly we heard no news of additional ambulance officers in today’s budget. Until our members are able to take their meal breaks and finish on time, we do not have enough bodies on the ground.

“Government may work the numbers and tell the public this is enough, when on the ground it sees our members not getting their entitlements – access to breaks, an inability to finish on time, and regular excessive shift extensions that can result in a 15-hour shift.

“Shifts go unfilled resulting in staff working alone when they would normally be part of a crew. Those on shift have to carry the load the vacancies leave. This is prevalent across acute care, patient transport and in operation centres who take our 000 calls.

“Funding for Queensland Ambulance Service staff increased by 500 over the last two years, but the service is still struggling. There needs to be funding for at least 250 additional staff per year recurring to even keep pace given the known four per cent increase per annum in ambulance demand.

“We are seeking further discussions with the Minister for Health and Ambulance.”

United Workers Union welcomes the government’s largest concentrated investment in social housing in Queensland’s history that will benefit workers. “But more paramedics would also benefit paramedics,” Ms Scalon said.

United Workers Union also welcomes today’s investment in health infrastructure with record new hospitals and hospital beds. However, the government must also have a plan for the essential workers who provide the services.

“This includes direct secure employment and decent pay rises for frontline workers that kept essential services running throughout the pandemic. We want to see the detail of health professionals like radiographers because frontline services can’t run themselves.”


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