Medics fight for rights
PARAMEDICS are seven times more likely to get injured on the job than other professions and twice as likely to get injured than police officers.
These are the figures Bellingen paramedic and Health Services Union committee member Justin Williams used in a well rehearsed speech, one which he helped deliver to NSW Premier Mike Baird on Wednesday in Sydney.
He was one of dozens who fronted Mr Baird, because they believe paramedics across the state are under-protected by the State Government insurance scheme.
Currently, the Ministry of Health insurance scheme, introduced about two months ago, pays out paramedics $123,487 for two years maximum if they are injured and can not work again.
This is about a quarter of the NSW Police scheme, which pays out officers $432,127 for a maximum of seven years.
"If this stays, we're going to start second-guessing going into that smashed car or lifting that 100kg unconscious person," Mr Williams said.
"We don't want to second-guess.
"We're not doing it for ourselves, we're doing it for our families."
Mr Williams said the meeting with Mr Baird was constructive and the Premier had agreed to change the protection scheme, but it would only come into effect on January 31.
Until then, Mr Williams said he would not back down and continue to push the campaign until that date and the revised scheme had come into action.
On the side of the ambulance he wrote the message, "Mike Baird has promised to protect us by January 31". Below it was a countdown of days until the proposed protection was to come into action.
"We're really applauding Mike Baird for his commitment, but we're holding him to it," Mr Williams said.
Mr Williams said personal income insurance was unaffordable as companies quoted him $800 a month due to the dangers of his job.
In a statement, Mr Baird said, "I have given my commitment to work with the HSU and others to design a Death and Disability scheme that is as generous as possible and more aligned with the protections provided to police."