Victoria’s embattled ambulance sector has received a major boost, thanks to the graduation of hundreds of new paramedics.
An extra 631 graduates joined the sector throughout the year, according to Premier Daniel Andrews.
“On top of recruiting more paramedics, we’ll keep working in partnership with the workforce to deliver innovative and new ways to provide care as our ambos face record demand,” he said.
“We’ll keep delivering the resources and infrastructure our paramedics need, so they can keep delivering the best possible care to Victorians.”
Graduate paramedics become fully qualified over the course of a year. After completing the The Graduate Ambulance Paramedic (GAP) program, paramedics continue professional development and education for their entire careers.
In addition, 30 Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedics have joined the ranks this year including paramedics from New Zealand and Canada.
Victoria’s paramedic workforce has increased by more than 56 per cent since 2014 – an increase of more than 2200 paramedics.
Ambulance Victoria recruited 700 paramedics in 2021 – its single largest annual recruitment ever.
The latest round of paramedic graduations comes amid a slew of pandemic-induced woes for the service, including several code red alerts throughout the year.
Last month, Victorian Ambulance Union secretary Danny Hill said the ambulance service had been playing “catch-up” since around 40 ambulances were sold off to the private sector in the 1990s.
“They’ve been playing catch-up when it comes to their wages, their conditions, their safety standards, and nowhere was that clearer than during the pandemic and you’d remember all those scenes of long queues of ambulances out the front of aged care facilities,” Mr Hill said.
He welcomed support to bring those services back under the care of the public sector and make them non-for-profit again.
“When you turn something from a health service into a private, profit-driven entity, you do see a reduction in standard, so this is something that we welcome and we endorse wholeheartedly. It’s a massive improvement.”