Insurance hangs in limbo
HELICOPTER paramedics who regularly risk their lives to save others say it's time for the O'Farrell Government to foot the bill for their life and income protection insurance.
For more than a decade regular a Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter paramedic, who wished to remain anonymous, has paid for his own life and income protection insurance.
Because he is employed by the NSW Ambulance Service, he and hundreds of other paramedics around the state have to fork out thousands of dollars annually for insurance cover.
He believed other local helicopter paramedics paid their own life and income protection insurance.
But he declined to comment on whether the NSW Government should cover the costs of life and income protection insurance for helicopter paramedics.
Health Services Union acting deputy secretary Gerard Hayes said after 12 months of inaction, it was time for the O'Farrell Government to ensure helicopter flight paramedics were protected by life and income protection insurance.
"This campaign stems from an industrial dispute that was before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission 12 months ago," he said.
Mr Hayes said attempts by the union to engage Health Minister Jillian Skinner on the issue has proved fruitless.
"Our members risk their lives each day for the community," Mr Hayes said.
"The greatest insult is that the pilot and the crew have their insurance paid by the contractors who employ them, but the paramedic who is dangling on the winch hundreds of metres above the ground is not covered."
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter aircrew chief Roger Fry said since staff and helicopter management came to an agreement five years ago the crew had paid their own income protection and life insurance.
The NSW Health Department did not respond to questions before we went to press last night.