South Australia Shadow Minister for Health Rob Lucas
Snelling Should ‘Back Off’ To Prevent Escalation Of Ramping Dispute
Victor P Taffa
Shadow Health Minister Rob Lucas said today Health Minister Snelling had to ‘back off’ and ensure government-employed media officers did not provoke industrial action by ambulance officers.
Yesterday a government-employed media officer from Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) clashed verbally with a TV cameraman and ambulance officers as the Weatherill Labor Government sought to prevent filming of ambulances ramping at FMC.
Today the Ambulance Employees’ Association (AEA) General Secretary Phil Palmer told the media that if media officers took similar action and sought to prevent coverage of the ramping issue in the future, they would consider immediate industrial action.
Mr. Palmer indicated this would likely be in the form of ambulance officers refusing to note patient address details for billing purposes, as occurred last month.
The AEA have previously estimated preventing patients from being charged for their journey costs the state $200,000 per day.
“This would result in a significant and needless escalation of the current dispute.” Mr. Lucas said.
“Minister Snelling needs to ensure urgent action is taken to ensure media officers don’t seek to suppress media coverage of the ramping issue.”
“Contrary to Government promises, ramping at FMC is only getting worse, with more than 20 ambulances ramped there this week and some being ramped for more than one hour.” Mr. Lucas said.
“In fact, yesterday afternoon 12 ambulances were ramped, four of which had patients who were listed as critical.”
“Sadly, it appears Mr. Snelling and the Weatherill Labor Government is more concerned about suppressing media coverage of ramping rather than actually doing something to resolve the problem.” Mr. Lucas said.