Specific rules and guidelines govern the way that paramedics and other emergency workers can make workers compensation claims, making their requirements quite different from those governing most other claims in NSW. But that’s a much-needed distinction, given the atypical and often even extreme amount of stress and trauma that emergency workers suffer just by the nature of their profession.
This high level of danger was illustrated by a recent report from 9 News, which, citing the NSW Annual Report, revealed a startlingly high number of compensation claims made by local paramedics during the past year.
What are the statistics on workers compensation claims by paramedics in NSW?
According to the Annual Report, there were 636 compensation claims made by ambulance staff in total during 2019, leading to payouts totaling approximately $7.5 million. That’s up significantly from the 361 claims and $4.4 million in payouts recorded in the previous year.
“Because we don’t get time to debrief a lot of the times, that trauma stays with us over the years,” one paramedic explained to 9News. “And it kind of builds up until cracks start to show.”
Further demonstrating the ongoing problem is a recent report commissioned by the Ambulance Employees Association in collaboration with researchers from Flinders University, which found that “rates of PTSD among paramedics are estimated to be twice as high as [those experienced by] other health professionals.”
Why are those numbers so high?
The AEA report considered the potential causes behind these abnormally high numbers, suggesting that part of the problem may be the lack of organisations supporting retired paramedics and ambulance officers.
Additionally, one of the primary researchers behind the report noted that accessible workers compensation provisions are vital in ensuring that our nation’s emergency technicians are properly treated.
“Paramedics report that their access to appropriate care is made difficult through obstacles including a failure in the workplace to acknowledge stress, a lack of confidentiality, use of inappropriate therapies, poor return-to-work mechanisms, isolation, and stigmatisation – and compounded by concerted efforts to obstruct access to workers compensation provisions, and a lack of post-retirement support,” wrote Sharon Lawn, lead author of the report.
Are you a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, ambulance officer, or any other kind of emergency worker? If you feel that you may be eligible to make a workers compensation claim, for an injury either physical or mental in nature, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today. Our specialised workers compensation lawyers can ensure that you will receive compensation helping you to achieve the medical care and quality of life you truly deserve.