But FENZ does not honour its agreement to recognise the impact of medical response on co-response

In October 2019 the NZPFU issued a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) under the Health and Safety at Work ACT 2015 to prevent the FENZ and St John Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from extending co-response to other incidents to be determined by St John.  Our concerns included the lack of requisite training and/or qualifications for the increased scope in responses, and the unnecessary risk of emotional and psychological trauma.

The inclusion of the wording “other incidents by exception” would have resulted in FENZ co-responders being deployed to medical incidents other than purple calls, including some medical emergencies that co-responders have not been trained to assist in.  That wording has now been removed from the MOU, thereby retaining medical co-responding to purple calls.  

In addition we now have a permanent place on the FENZ Medical Response Focus Group and this is recognised in new Terms of Reference. This is a good outcome and we appreciate the dedication of our SME Justin Murtha in working through not only this issue but effecting various changes in the MOU that are further protections for our members. 

However, FENZ failure to address the impact of medical response on firefighters safety, health and wellbeing or to address the additional workload remains unchanged.  Despite agreeing in the 2018 Terms of Settlement to review the impact of medical response including the emotional and psychological effects FENZ has done nothing.   FENZ assured the NZPFU that funding was available to address the impact of medical response but now says that is not the case.  Despite the NZPFU putting up proposals that provide appropriate remuneration of the additional workload and linked directly to the psychological impact of the increasing medical calls, FENZ has refused to implement any recognition.  Despite FENZ assuring the NZPFU that funding was being allocated they now admit it wasn’t. 

FENZ does not walk the talk in terms of its supposed values including “do the right thing”.  The dishonest claim that funding was being allocated to the issue, the failure to honour the spirit of the agreement reached to address the impact of medical response, and the lack of any sustainable or effective mental health programme other than psychological assistance. This is just one of a series of FENZ’s false promises. Last week the NZPFU notified members of FENZ’s dishonest dealings with the Auckland Taskforce.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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