The Local is receiving a number of concerns from members regarding the Medical co-response which was sprung on members at the last moment before the recent holiday period.
These concerns consistently focus upon a lack of adequate training, no clear procedures in terms of crew roles, no notification for Peer Support in the event of a fatality, and no consideration on the part of the employer of the effects of these calls on the total station workload. There are also questions regarding the change to members’ job-sizing with the undertaking of this new work.
The Union wrote to the MOU project leader Brian Butt on 11 October of last year. Copy of questions attached). Having heard nothing by December, a further request for answers to these issues was sent to Butt.
The Union has only yesterday received a reply to these concerns and is currently deciphering the response. This lack of engagement, which is contrary to the stated policy of the National Commander/Chief Executive, leads the Local to question whether the entire engagement and discussion policy is, in fact, a sham.
Is ignoring the legitimate concerns of the Union by Brian Butt an example of a rogue manager who thinks that how his boss envisions labour relations is wrong, or is it a tacit challenge as to who is really running the Fire Service? Or is it a comment from Butt on the strength of Mr Baxter’s leadership or abilities to enforce his own policies as being that of the Fire Service?
One interesting point, in one of the studies cited in Butt’s reply, demonstrates that Fire is first on-scene in almost 85% of the calls. Also, firefighters are performing CPR on patients with a greater frequency over their ambulance colleagues.
In the meantime, the Local advises members to ensure that outcomes and actions of crews attending medical co-response calls are recorded in the Incident Report, especially if the first arrival is by the fire crew. Also note, if possible, how much time elapses until the attendance of ambulance.
If members are attending a string of fatalities, or fatalities involving an infant, child, or other disturbing circumstances, and they feel they are being affected at being exposed to such misery, the Union advises that Peer Support be contacted for the specialised support to deal with such potentially difficult situations.
The Union will continue to lobby the employer to provide us with a level of medical training that is above that taught to the local scout troop, specifically that we be trained to, at the minimum, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care or First Responder.