The Health Services Union says it will watch for the arrival of 12 additional staff members in Wagga, with keen interest.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard described the move as unprecedented, with the injection set to boost Wagga numbers within six months.
It follows this year’s announcement 700 paramedics and 50 support staff would be added to NSW Ambulance ranks across four years, with the first 200 dispatched within a year. None of the initial 200 qualified paramedics were initially earmarked for the Riverina.
While the news was welcomed as a win across the city, questions were raised regarding recruitment logistics. In response, Mr Hazzard said the new positions would “well and truly” be in Wagga as promised. .
It comes after Tumut paramedic John Larter said from position advertising to start dates, six months seemed an optimistic goal. He said it was a matter of clarifying whether the paramedics could come from a surplus or from somewhere else. Mr Later said if paramedics from remote areas moved to Wagga, it could leave those stations understaffed too.
But NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan said the training of additional staff had been underway for some time, with additional courses making it possible to form an eligibility list. He said the talent pool could be drawn from, if and when additional positions were created across the state.
“We’ve previously produced 300 paramedics within a year,” Mr Morgan said. “With additional support staff on the way, we’re more optimistic than ever before.”
HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said it would monitor the recruitment position by position, adding it seemed as though NSW Ambulance was “doing the right thing”.