The NSW leader of the paramedics union says his organisation is looking forward to working with the newly installed NSW Ambulance Hunter Region chief to address workplace bullying and violence against frontline emergency service workers on the street.
The Australian Paramedics Association NSW (APANSW) was responding to the Newcastle Herald's interview this week with the new NSW Ambulance Deputy Director of Clinical Operations, Jordan Emery.
Inspector Emery told the Herald he was focused on addressing "significant cultural challenges" in the Hunter New England region, citing concerns from staff about bullying and harassment within the organisation as well as a feeling that they were not being heard by management.
APANSW state president Chris Kastelan said Inspector Emery's comments were a good start because it had been "an ongoing issue for paramedics in the Hunter for many years".
"Bullying and harassment within the work environment should be investigated, monitored and the systems of reviewing negative behaviour should be taken seriously so that procedures are put in place to control the risk to the workforce," Mr Kastelan said.
"NSW Ambulance needs to provide and maintain safe systems to manage the risk of bullying and harassment within the work environment.
"All paramedics have a right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and bullying and that repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers is unacceptable.
"Any paramedic who makes a claim of bullying and harassment will receive industrial support during the investigation process including psychological assistance."
Mr Kastelan said the union looked forward to working with the new Hunter chief to address the cultural issues, as well as reducing assaults of frontline paramedics in public.
He said all paramedics deserved to go to work each day without fear of real or perceived violence during their shift.
"APANSW will always support the police in enforcing, to the full extent of the law, any action taken against a perpetrator of violence, whether physical or verbal in the investigation process towards a paramedic fulfilling their duty to serve the community," he said.
Cultural issues inside NSW Ambulance have been well documented in recent years.
In 2016, the Newcastle Herald reported on allegations of bullying and intimidation at the Northern Control Centre at Charlestown.
During a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into bullying in emergency service ranks in 2017, the NSW Ambulance chief executive told the inquiry bullying was happening at a rate that "would not be considered acceptable to us or the broader community".
In 2018, Lake Macquarie paramedic Tony Jenkins took his own life - he was the region's third serving ambulance worker to do so in a decade.
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