Ambulance service gives in

THE Ambulance Service and the Health Services Union (HSU) will hold talks in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) following threats that paramedics would boycott race meetings.

The threat came in the face of the coming race carnival season and is significant because horse races cannot go ahead without ambulance services on the sideline.

The ban was threatened but lifted several hours later after it was confirmed the IRC would host talks between the NSW Ambulance Service and HSU.

HSU North Coast organiser Ken McIntosh said in light of being in the IRC, no industrial bans were anticipated at this stage.

Tensions between the two groups have been bubbling ever since the Ambulance Service introduced new overtime-reducing measures months ago.

The measures meant that on-duty crews would be used instead of on-call crews, despite one crew being closer to the incident than the other crew.

The HSU believes the "cost-cutting" measure is endangering the community.

In August, a Murwillumbah man died from a cardiac arrest after he was forced to wait 27 minutes for an ambulance.

A South Grafton man died after a Maclean on-duty car - 50 km away - was tasked to him.

"I am sure the community can appreciate how concerned the ambos are about the policies and the way they are being dispatched," Mr McIntosh said.



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