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Govt needs to intervene after report finds SJA 'failed' paramedics

Govt needs to intervene after report finds SJA 'failed' paramedics

press conference

United Voice welcomes the recommendations made by the Independent Oversight Panel and is glad members have finally been vindicated after years of struggle.

The report highlights various issues around resourcing, culture and responsibility within St John Ambulance’s workforce.

United Voice Secretary Carolyn Smith said the report is a step in the right direction for workers who, for too long, have had to suffer undue harm. 

Ms Smith said after the findings of this report it is now time the State Government to step up and ensure this essential public service provides a safe workplace for employees.

“By implementing the 27 recommendations made in the report, St John has a very good opportunity to transform their organisational culture to ensure it does not contribute, or exacerbate, workplace stress,” Ms Smith said.

“United Voice members would like to see the Barnett Government involved to ensure St John implement all of these recommendations. 

“As an essential public service this needs to be managed effectively and resolved quickly.

“Recommendation 27 for a body to oversee the implementation of recommendations must include government representatives. 

“We support the report’s recommendations SJA be held accountable for workplace culture through contractual obligations with the State.” 

Recommendation 15 highlights that the Model for Country Ambulance Services currently operates using unsafe practices and present risks to the community and state. 

“Our members work with volunteers on a daily basis and wholeheartedly agree there should be more health and wellbeing support for volunteers,” Ms Smith said. 

She said members support recommendation 26 for better collaboration between St John and the union.

“We absolutely agree with this recommendation and look forward to comprehensively working with SJA on a wellbeing and support plan,” she said. 

“As has always been the case, United Voice has an open door policy for working with St John Ambulance to resolve issues of concern for members.”

In a submission to the panel in July 2015, United Voice made 23 recommendations on behalf of members which centred on the organisation taking pre-emptive and supportive action to ensure the safety of their staff.

Download the IOP report here.

Download the Pheonix report here.

Download SJA's CEO responses here.

* You can watch Carolyn Smith and former paramedic Kerry Long speak to the media about the report here


Media Coverage


Reports find St John Ambulance failed to manage 'psychological risk' to WA staff

St John Ambulance paramedics face random drug, alcohol testing

St John Ambulance CEO must resign or be sacked: South West MP Adele Farina

St John Ambulance boss at odds with WA Government, United Voice and WA Opposition over reform process 

The West Australian

Report exposes toxic workplace culture at St John Ambulance

Report shows ambos' despair

882 6PR Perth

St John responds to report into paramedic suicides

Union responds to report into paramedic suicides, mental health and wellbeing at St John

Channel 7 News


720 ABC

Download the transcript from Geoff Hutchinson's interview with United Voice WA Secretary Carolyn Smith here