Byron Central Hospital on Ewingsdale Road just off the Pacific Motorway.
Byron Central Hospital on Ewingsdale Road just off the Pacific Motorway.

Paramedics on the front line of coronavirus battle

NSW Ambulance has systems in place to track cases of paramedics who have responded to a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, it's been confirmed.

Following a report by the Australian Paramedics Association NSW (APA NSW) showing a 4.8 per cent increase in demand for services since the October to December quarter the previous year, it remains to be seen what strain the coronavirus (COVID-19) puts on the system.

APA (NSW) president Chris Kastelan said, "Paramedics continue to be stretched beyond the limit every day to meet the rising calls for assistance from the public."

"With the culmination of current demands and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While COVID- 19 is not a part of the current BHI data, it represents yet another challenge to Paramedics."

"APA (NSW) has continually said that the 700 new Paramedics being employed by the NSW Government are simply not enough, and the results are showing."

Southern Cross University Psychology researcher and Clinical Psychologist, Dr Basia Radlinska said health care workers in people-facing professions that necessitate sustained empathic engagements with people impacted by trauma are at risk of experiencing not just burnout, but also compassion fatigue and vicarious traumatisation.

"It is important to note that no matter how resilient an individual is, there are systematic issues within the health care system that need to be addressed," he said.

A NSW Ambulance spokesperson said t this stage no crews have been identified as contracting COVID-19 through workplace contact.

"(This) indicates our personal protection systems are currently working as designed and expected," they said.

"The NSW Government yesterday announced $700 million extra funding for NSW Health as part a $2.3B stimulus package.

"As part of this, NSW Ambulance has received a substantial budget increase to fund additional emergency activity."

They said NSW Ambulance was committed to current recruitments doing back to back programs.

"There is the option to fast track second and third year students if needed and create a regional induction."



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