ORANGE paramedic and Health Services Union (HSU) representative Ian Spurway was stood down from active duty this week amid fears the Ambulance Service of NSW is trying to silence the outspoken campaigner for more paramedics in Orange.
A statement from the Ambulance Service of NSW confirmed Mr Spurway would be confined to desk duty while an investigation was underway.
“The Ambulance Service of NSW can confirm that a paramedic from Orange has been placed on alternative duties while concern over an operational matter is being investigated.”
Mr Spurway said he was unable to comment on his situation, in line with Ambulance Service of NSW policies and procedures.
HSU central west sub-branch secretary Craig Parsons said Mr Spurway and the HSU had not been told why Mr Spurway had been stood down from active duty.
“We’re still waiting to hear why,” he said.
While an Ambulance Service of NSW spokesperson would not comment on the details of Mr Spurway’s case, he said there was nothing stopping Mr Spurway continuing in his role as a union representative while the investigation was underway.
Orange councillor Glenn Taylor said he wanted to get to the bottom of the reason Mr Spurway had been stood down from active duty.
“We need to leave no stone unturned,” he said.
Cr Taylor said not only was Mr Spurway a a champion for the cause to improve paramedic resources in Orange, “the fact that he’s been stood down means there’s one less [active] paramedic in Orange”.
“I think news that Ian has been stood down for whatever reason makes me more determined to campaign as vigorously as we can,” he said.
“This is about giving the Orange community peace of mind that there are adequate paramedics to respond [to call outs].”
Cr Taylor will push for a parliamentary inquiry into the shortage of paramedics in Orange while also working to find out why Mr Spurway was being investigated.
“This has moved on from being a union campaign, it’s now a community campaign,” he said.
Cr Taylor was alarmed to hear paramedics were sometimes forced to work 22-hour shifts.
“How can they be expected to make a life and death decision when they’re working for that period of time?” he asked.
“We need more paramedics in this city.”
Cr Taylor hoped the ongoing campaign, including the circulation of a petition, would continue until more paramedics were employed in Orange.
“If the Ambulance Service of NSW thinks this is going away they’re sadly mistaken,” he said.