As members will be aware, in July 2022, the VAU wrote to the Victorian Government seeking a way to transition away from the surge staffing arrangements put in place throughout the pandemic through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that restricted the use of surge workers to fill paramedic shifts while incentivising paramedics filling paramedic shifts. The MOU was negotiated between the VAU, Ambulance Victoria (AV) and the Government, and was supposed to be in effect for approximately 3 months. However, AV approached the VAU to extend the MOU until 16 January 2023 which the VAU gave agreement to.

The MOU was never envisaged to last as long as it has. The VAU has received significant feedback from members that the MOU should end and AV should return to its normal paramedic staffing model as soon possible.

Recently AV requested that the MOU be extended again until June 2023. Like all important decisions this was discussed by the State Council and a decision made not to support an extension to the MOU. The VAU has communicated our position to AV that we do not support an extension to the Surge Transition MOU.

The VAU is in ongoing discussions with AV about measures that can be taken to reduce unfilled shifts, reduce workload, and utilising surge workforce staff assisting with APOT/AVOL and other roles. We have advocated for extension of the financial incentives and will continue to do so however we have stated that the VAU cannot support an MOU that includes surge workforce filling paramedic shifts. Where a paramedic is required, a paramedic must be recruited, which is why we are advocating for the recruitment of more graduate paramedics.

Our sincere thanks go to all the surge volunteers who gave up their time to assist us throughout the pandemic. We cannot thank you enough. No doubt many of you will start careers as paramedics in a few years and you can rest assured that the union is protecting your future profession.

Please note that the MOU ends at midnight tonight (16 January 2023) and no further rostering of surge responders into paramedic shifts should occur from that time. The VAU has agreed that nightshifts starting tonight that are filled with a surge responder are able to be completed.