Cidney Jenkins was shattered by her father Tony Jenkins' death. Jenkins took his own life about two hours after he was dropped off, alone, by a senior NSW Ambulance officer after a meeting about his alleged use of the opioid Fentanyl taken from Hunter ambulance stations. Read the full story here.
LET’S talk about our paramedics – the ordinary men and women called to do extraordinary things, often walking blindly into chaos, desperation, violence and mayhem, ready to offer their skills and compassion.
Let’s talk about my father, Tony Jenkins, who entered the service as a passionate, healthy and resilient man.
As I sat at my laptop, fumbling with words for his eulogy, I was left questioning how a man who talked about his good fortune, loving family and remarkably happy life could be driven to take his own life, without warning.
The final hours of my father’s life were spent with NSW Ambulance.
Many of us assume the most traumatic part of a paramedic’s job is the trauma they are exposed to on the road. Violence against paramedics has been a recent media focus but another pressing issue is the treatment of paramedics behind the scenes – whether they’re supported, or whether the attitude when they’re stressed is that they should “toughen up”.
Let’s talk about multiple inquiries over 11 years that clearly identify issues of lack of support, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-medication, increased violence, and suicide within the ambulance service.
I believed NSW Ambulance would set the benchmark for looking after employees because they take people to hospital. But in our family’s experience that is not the case.
After all, ambulances take people to hospital, don’t they? And yet when it comes to their own employees, we believe the support is lacking.
My father helped so many people during his 28 years of service, but where was the help when he needed and deserved it?