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NSW Paramedics could be short of workers on NYE

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Thousands of NSW paramedics could stop work on New Year's if an ongoing pay dispute is not resolved to bring wages in line with other states.
NSW paramedics

Thousands of NSW paramedics could stop work on New Year’s if an ongoing pay dispute is not resolved.

Paramedics must be registered to legally respond to emergencies. However, around 2,000 workers have pledged to boycott the process. Registrations that aren’t renewed will expire on 31 December.

These paramedics are calling for a pay increase of 20% to bring their wages in line with other states.

Background

Hundreds of NSW paramedics have resigned in the last six months, with some relocating to states like QLD, where paramedics are paid higher wages.

The Ambulance Department Health Services Union (ADHSU) represents some 4,000 paramedics in NSW, the ACT and QLD. It’s calling for a wage increase on behalf of NSW workers. This would be in addition to an increase handed down to public sector workers each year. This year’s increase was 4.5%.

Registration of NSW paramedics

Paramedics must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to legally respond to medical emergencies.

Every year, registrations expire at the same time — 30 November. A grace period allows paramedics to continue practising after registration lapses, until December 31.

Therefore, NSW paramedics who have pledged to not renew their registration cannot legally work from 1 January, 2024.

There are around 4,500 to 5,000 paramedics in NSW. Some 2,000 workers have joined the registration boycott.

According to ADHSU, unregistered paramedics will continue showing up to work from 1 January.

However, without registration, paramedics will not be able to respond to medical emergencies beyond driving an ambulance and performing CPR.

Government response

A NSW Government spokesperson told TDA they are “working through what professional recognition for NSW paramedics could look like”.

It said it was “working hard to recruit, retain and support our workforce.”

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