The changes needed at St John

A St John Ambulance

I?m an ex paramedic from St. John Auckland. I had a smooth run, I kept my head down and was unofficially part of the ?boys club? which is a culture within the organisation that I don?t agree with. I resigned last year as there were better opportunities overseas and so?I made the decision to move.

Before I left I saw staff bullied and many very bad management decisions. As a leader, I was taught to lead by example. The TMs and upper management, with maybe one or two exceptions, do not do that. The majority are disgusting in my opinion and are only concerned about testing their $100k plus pay rate.

I once told a manager that we needed cameras or at least a system to monitor the controlled drugs and the drug stores in general. The manager, who was under qualified with no actual previous management experience, told me that ?cameras make people feel uncomfortable.? While cameras will not stop drug theft, they at least would record who was there.

In my experience, some people do not follow correct procedure with expired drugs and, in Auckland, many go missing. This kind of drug theft includes Methoxy and Midaz which, while I was a paramedic in New Zealand, went missing all the time. Midaz is one of the date-rape drugs and it can kill you!

In my experience, most male managers and higher ranked staff were worse than Julius Caesar on a sex romp through Italy. It was a bad example to set for staff and it became common knowledge.

The guest post Whaleoil published about St John was great and it just reinforced what I and all my past mentors and trainers think; they all have left St. John too!

Pay is one issue but perhaps another angle needs to be followed. I hear through the grapevine that St. John is holding registration up as it will cost them a lot. I think we need registration to hold medics accountable and new leadership is needed ASAP.

Random drug testing of some of the newly-qualified paramedics and the new younger employees in Auckland – especially EMTs from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 AUT classes – would be a good idea. I think St John would be shocked at the results.

A few of my workmates who are still at St. John have witnessed younger ones on social outings taking many different recreational drugs and then tending to patients on their next shift.

It puts the public at huge risk, but part of the problem is management prematurely employing these students in the job. Some, but not all, managers are involved in this.

People can do what they want in life but, in our job, recreational drug use puts the public at risk. Would you really want a surgeon on ecstasy to operate on you? Let alone an inexperienced hot-headed EMT or new paramedic treating a member of your family?

Sadly the union has weak ideas and strategy, and poor leadership. They get nowhere!

I think that the staff need to push for ambulance procedure reforms and a new CEO.

St. John should be kept as an events and youth initiative.

Frontline paramedic operations need to be separate. A new ambulance service should be either run privately or by the government.

Pay is but one issue, random compulsory drug testing needs to be implemented, we need registration and leadership needs to change ASAP to hold medics accountable for their actions.

I write this anonymously as I?ve seen too many frontline staff silenced by St. John?s expensive legal team.

I?ve let management know about the drug use issues. Hopefully?they are taking my concerns seriously and will try to do something about it.

I also made the Minister of Health aware of the drug use issue and I got a direct reply in under 2 hours! (This is light speed for parliament as it usually takes 6-8 weeks for a reply). They said that they are ?seeking advice from their advisors? on the drug use issue, but at least they took my concerns seriously.