SITREP No. 15/2011

April 15, 2011

Inside this issue:

  • Medical response coming “like it or not”
  • A ‘super’ lump sum – extra payment confirmed
  • Senior Instructors Country – no additional work
  • BMOs fishing for sickness
  • May Day 2011
  • SOSB meeting reminder

Medical response coming “like it or not”

An “interesting” email from a member reproduced here for the information of all members:

“Yesterday a number of stations here [……] attended a station forum at […..], run by Asst Comm […..] and Chief Super [….]. Both told us that medical response is going to be implemented whether we like it or not, so we better get used to it. When we raised a number of concerns about responses, training, equipment etc […..]  said that is why we were given the AED’s and EMT packs in the first place, and that our BLS training is more than enough. Also told us that afa responses will soon be reduced to a 1 pump response in order to free up more stations to do Medical Responses. He also said that as many stations in Western Sydney and across the state are doing it, it doesn’t really qualify as new work (implying no extra $$).”

The Union is not in the habit of publishing uncorroborated material so we set about over the past week checking the accuracy of this account with other members in attendance. All confirmed the above as accurate. In fairness to the two senior officers concerned, who we also checked with, they denied having said much of this and claimed that what was said was taken out context.

It would be more useful if the Commissioner was up front with the Union and the workforce over the Department’s intentions. Either way, nothing will occur without the Union’s agreement.

A ‘super’ lump sum – extra payment confirmed

Sitreps 12 and 13 both reported on how the Union had questioned the Department over its failure to make additional super contributions on top of the last month’s 2011 Award lump sum payments. It took the Department three weeks to confirm what the Union knew was correct from the get-go – the lump sums are superable. This additional payment will now be made on 21 April.

Senior Instructors Country – no additional work

Members attached to Education and Training will agree that the restructure has caused more problems than it has resolved with training gaps identified, confusion over roles and rosters and working arrangements still up in the air. After the mass upheaval of members attached to the section many are now returning to their previous roles, begging the question of why it had to happen in the first place? Management demanded to manage, and this is the result.

Now the Department is looking to cover the staffing shortfall in Metro training by increasing the workload of the Senior Instructors Country. The Union was quite clear from the beginning, it would co-operate with the restructure but would not prop up a bad system by members taking on additional work. That is to say, members may work differently, but not take on additional duties that had been previously undertaken by dedicated staff.

Therefore Senior Instructor Country members are hereby directed to not take on additional work, ie, to not undertake any work previously performed by the Metro Instructors. This instruction is to remain in force until advised otherwise by a future Union notice.

BMOs fishing for sickness

The Department’s Medical Officers have been obtaining open-ended authorisations from members allowing them to contact members’ doctors directly and gain access to confidential medical information, some times years after the authorisation was given, or for unrelated health matters. Authorisations of this kind have recently been used to trigger unjustified stand-downs and medical retirements despite members’ doctors certifying those members fit for duty and members are advised to not grant or sign them.

There are some instances where it may be necessary to provide medical information to the Department, however members should always seek advice from the Union before doing so. You should at the very least always limit your authorisation to a specified time period and subject. For example:

“I hereby allow the Brigade’s Medical Officer to contact my treating doctor in regard to my shoulder injury only and such authorisation is valid until 21 May 2011.”

You should also limit your authorisation to access to a particular report, or to your doctor providing written answers to specific questions. Members who are concerned they may already have given the Department an open-ended medical authorisation are advised to rescind this authority now by writing to the Department as follows:

I hereby rescind all previous authorities given to the Department and its Medical Officers to access my medical information or discuss my medical condition with my treating doctor until further notice.”

May Day 2011

The 2011 Sydney May Day march will be held on Sunday 1 May with members meeting at Hyde Park North at 1200 hours. Following the march, the Union will be putting on food and beverages for members and their families.  While not necessary, it would be helpful for catering purposes if members who intend attending could let Alison or Sarah know with a simple email (

SOSB meeting reminder

Senior Officer members are reminded that the next SOSB meeting will be held at the Union’s Belmore Street office on Tuesday 19 April, commencing at 1000 hours.

Travis Broadhurst

Acting State Secretary



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