St John Ambulance staff in Darwin and Alice Springs have overwhelmingly passed a resolution of no-confidence in management. The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union says supporters at a rally in both cities also unanimously voted to ask the Northern Territory Government to intervene in the dispute over pay and conditions.
The union says there are only eight ambulances to service all of the Territory, with an average waiting time of an hour, compared to eight minutes interstate.
St John Ambulance despatcher Peter Schultz says the staff shortfall extends to communications operators who work one-man shifts of 16 hours.
“That’s all well and good but when you get things like a resus – so mum rings up, ‘my baby’s not breathing’, we’re trained to talk to people through doing CPR, the whole box and dice,” he said.
“But then the crunch comes – mum’s there with the bub and we turnaround and say: ‘We’ll put you on hold now, while we despatch the ambulance’ – what do you reckon mum feels like?”
The union says it will now seek meetings with St John Ambulance management and the NT Government.