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Ambulance Victoria on the cusp of a cultural overhaul after damning report


Ambulance Victoria has admitted it needs to “get better” as it sits on the cusp of a complete cultural overhaul.

In part, it read: “The Board and Executive Committee did not fully anticipate, recognise, analyse, prioritise or systematically address the unlawful conduct and harm identified by this review.”

An Ambulance Victoria ambulance.
An Ambulance Victoria ambulance. (Paul Rovere/The Age)

Commissioner Ro Allen added the issues are spread “right across Ambulance Victoria.”

“Those things that have been included to help women haven’t worked. They’re not good enough.”

Almost half (47.2 per cent) of the more than 2000 paramedics surveyed for the report experienced discrimination and more than half (52.4 per cent) had been bullied.

Testimony in today’s 800-page document included comments from interviews calling out a “boys club” in which “women are usually overlooked” for promotions.

One employee labelled the system “notoriously corrupt”.

Chief executive of operations Libby Murphy, who worked through a similar review during her 35 years with Victoria Police, said “we need equality, we need diversity”.

“I think that’s a reflection, it’s not an excuse, but it’s a reflection of society and what we need to change.”

“If we get this right, the community is better served.”

Ambulance Victoria’s Libby Murphy, (Nine)

The report did not call to sack Ambulance Victoria’s board or executives, but the organisation’s head of people and culture resigned this week, days before the final report was made public.

Danny Hill, Secretary of the Victorian Ambulance Union, said a resignation “doesn’t fix the problem”.

“We need people feeling welcome at work and feeling safe at work and if we don’t, yes, we do have an impact to the service provided,” he said.

Paramedics have been at the centre of a health crisis gripping the state.

They’re the faces we see “ramped” outside Victorian hospitals, waiting with patients needing care from a workforce that was missing 1906 staff to COVID isolation today.

They’re also the faces up to a dozen Victorians were desperate to see as they died, waiting for a Triple Zero call to be answered between October and January.

Ambulances lined up outside Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne.
Ambulances lined up outside Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne. (Jason South)

Brad Battin, Victoria’s Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, said Premier Daniel Andrews is accountable.

“The blood is on your hands. You can fix it, you should have fixed it, you failed to fix it,” he said.

“More people will die here in the state if they don’t get this right.”

The premier announced $115 million for the state’s ailing ESTA call taking service in March, after 60 Minutes broadcast recordings of Triple Zero calls that were left on hold for 15 minutes as Victorians were dying.

“We will continue to resource this service to make sure it’s as good as it possibly can be,” Minister for Employment Jaala Pulford insisted today.

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