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Brain drain hits ambulances

ALMOST two-thirds of Ambulance Victoria staff who quit between 2008 and 2011 were on the job for five years or less, according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information.
Nanjing Night Net

The state’s ambulance union said the attrition rates were evidence of a culture where paramedics are overworked.

Figures revealed 63 per cent of staff who left the force between July 2008 and November 2011 did so within five years. Union secretary Steve McGhie said an epidemic of overworked paramedics leaving the force due to fatigue, stress and poor working conditions sent a clear message about the difficulty of retaining experienced staff.

Of the 520 staff that resigned or retired between 2008 and 2011, 325 were paramedics. Ambulance Victoria hired 1254 new paramedics over the same period.

Older paramedics nearing retirement make up about 25 per cent of the workforce and with new ones staying for less than five years, Mr McGhie said “I don’t believe it’s conducive to improving a service without retaining people for longer than five years. The problem is serious and we need to address it.”

Health Minister David Davis said the government was on track to deliver 310 additional paramedics and 30 patient transport officers by 2017.