AAP

Calls for inquiry into ambo rosters

A GRAFTON doctor who has an intimate knowledge of emergency medicine says an ambulance officer's claims of delayed response time to emergency call outs should be the target of a ministerial inquiry.

Dr Allan Tyson, an anaesthetist at Grafton Base Hospital, who is also the chairman of the hospital's staff council, said NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner needs to look into the problem.

"Ambulance officers in general don't come out and say things unless they feel very strongly and if they have come out and said something, we really need to get to the bottom of it," he said.

Dr Tyson said the new health minister had inherited a department in a 'hell of a mess' but has been able to sort out some issues quickly and well.

"But there are issues that have come to light, like this one, that it does not appear the Ambulance Service has been able to solve," he said.

A former Grafton ambulance officer said paramedics had just switched to a new four days on, five days off roster, which they had campaigned for.

He said there were 'a small pocket' of officers at the station who viewed the new roster as a chance to make more money.

"I think officers should be using their time away from work to relax from what is a highly stressful occupation," the former officer said.

But Dr Tyson said arguments like this were a distraction from the real issue.

"The bottom line is that there wouldn't appear there are enough ambulance officers to provide the service people expect," he said.

"If you had the right number of people, you wouldn't have to pay all the other people overtime."



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