Yep, Things Sure Have Changed

Throughout this blog there has been a common theme, the disregard and disdain with which Ambulance Victoria treats its staff.

With the enterprise bargaining period now terminated paramedics can no longer speak out, for fear of being hunted and subject to disciplinary action.

Well as a wife I am not subject to your polices and procedures of fear, so I will be speaking out in the vague hope that someone will listen.

With the recent acknowledgement by the coroner that paramedics kill themselves at least four times greater than the general public, and that more paramedics may have problems with psychological injuries and addiction AV has sought to introduce a drug policy.

Does this policy seek to address the welfare of the paramedics serving in the organisation, nope. Its all about image, so that the management can say how tough they are on drugs.

While I will have more to say in coming weeks, let me give you an example of thee care provided around the issue of drugs.

What happens when a paramedic is accused of drug abuse is they are met at their branch by their Group Manager and stood down. This means they are isolated from branch their access cards are removed and even their email access is revoked.

A urine test is then demanded and if the paramedic has any concerns they are simply bullied and threatened. They are not told how they came to be suspect, they are refused any information as to any accusations that may have been made against them, they are simply made to pee in a cup and told to go home and not come back until they are contacted.

They effectively have no rights, certainly less than most accused in the judicial system who are at least allowed to know the nature of the accusations against them. Otherwise how are they supposed to defend themselves. Lawyers call this natural justice, apparently paramedics are not entitled to this.

Recently a paramedic was stood down, a drug test demanded. The paramedic complied simply as they believed it was the fastest way  of sorting this out.

When the drug test came back clear, the paramedic told the Group Manager exactly what they thought of the procedure as it stood.

The Group Manager was so incensed at being told this that AV’s peer support was involved to soothe their hurt feelings.

Strangely, peer support (the AV counselling/mental health service) had not been been involved to this point. They had not been involved while a paramedic was accused, they had not been involved while a paramedic was systematically isolated by the management. They were not called when this paramedic was isolated at home not knowing whether their long career was over, or the police may be knocking on the door.

They were only involved to assuage a manager’s hurty feelings.

I guess that tells you where AV’s priority lies.

I think it is a very good thing that this paramedic was clearly not someone at the edge resorting to drugs to ease the pain or the outcome may have been very different. Not that that is apparently an issue as far as AV is concerned.

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7 Responses to Yep, Things Sure Have Changed

  1. Fred Nuckle says:

    I left some years ago now and it was bad then. I keep in contact with quite a few paramedics and it is dismaying to hear their stories and, as you say, the lack of information about what they are actually guilty of. ‘Managers’, many of whom had not long qualified when I worked with them, actually had CI reports against them for “bad attitudes” to both patients and colleagues.
    I am very glad I’m out although I miss the work.
    It’s little wonder the number on sick leave and LSL currently, and it’s little wonder the level of management related depression is so high. I didn’t see, in my years of the job, see very much of incident related depression that wasn’t de-fused by work colleagues.
    Keep up your posts

  2. Julie Payne says:

    Typical. Discipline instead of support. Accusations ahead of rights.

  3. Laurie says:

    Strange. After 32 years as an on road Paramedic, I had heart bypass surgery. After some time of recovery, I returned to HQ to enquire about a RTW plan. I was “steered” toward insurance from Defined Benefits as my Income Protection Insurance, dropped me like a hot scone. After being ignored by Management I decided to put my skills of tuition to a better use. It has been 5 years since my CABG’s and feel great even though money is tight. I will never forget how they treated me but sometimes it is best to move on.

  4. Very Disgruntled Ambo wife says:

    The hardest part of reading your post Paramedic Wife was knowing that some other poor Paramedic has been treated as appaulingly as my husband also was.

    In the end it actually was so badly managed by AV it was like a circus. A very bad circus. Full of nasty evil clowns. And here I was a spectator trying to support my husband, the man who gives his all every damn day.

    Wish we could compare notes, sadly you are not alone 🙁

  5. Jen says:

    I was outrightly accused of being a substance abuser today. And if I don’t give AV access to my most private medical and pharmaceutical information, then I’m gone…… I’ve never abused a drug in my life…..

    • Very Disgruntled ambo wife says:

      Jen please know that you are not alone. I am so sorry this is happening to you. This was us 12 months ago. It was hell. I couldn’t leave my husband alone so flat, so sad, it was constant concern. But he took them on, he has never ever ever taken drugs. He doesn’t even drink ffs.

  6. Allistair McCoy says:

    Jen, Im an old Driver. I’m still AEA as perhaps I can advise on past strategies, successful.. Drug testing is new ballgame! Prescription drugs? Breach of Confidiality???
    No Dr will prescribe ICE, CRACK or nasty stuff.
    Mine won’t! !
    I have no issue with test for Non Prescription stuff…. but CONDIDENTIALITY is sacrosanct.
    Being ‘obtunded’ doesn’t seem to block promotion??? Obviously.
    Working in a field that may require meds for injuries, seen & unseen??? Test, Ask, See Prescription. ?.Gone.
    No biggie.
    Hold the line. We’re there if you need us!! Xo

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