ONLY four new paramedic graduates have been deployed to Ballarat and neighbouring Grampians towns in the latest round of Ambulance Victoria recruits.
In contrast, the region of Gippsland got 14, Barwon got 17, Hume got 18 and Loddon got 19.
Ballarat paramedics have a history of staff shortages and lack of resources, but Ambulance Victoria has confirmed the jobs have already been filled.
General Manager of Emergency Operations Mick Stephenson said placements varied year-to-year depending on branch requirements and positions in Ballarat and the Grampians were already filled by qualified paramedics.
Mr Stephenson also said “no doubt” more parademics would be placed in the Grampians throughout the year.
“Ballarat is a popular place to live and work and, as a result, a number of qualified paramedics have moved there from other parts of the state in recent times,” he said.
However, Ambulance Employee Union secretary Steve McGhie said he was concerned Ambulance Victoria had only recruited 259 new paramedics when more than 700 students had completed their studies this year.
“If there are only 250 jobs, there will be many ambulance graduates that won’t find employment, and I find that very unfair that kids are going to university, wanting to become paramedics, getting their degrees and then there’s no jobs for them,” he said.
A graduation ceremony was held Wednesday night at Melbourne’s Arts Centre for the 259 new paramedics that have completed the Ambulance Victoria training program.
Ambulance Services Minister Jill Hennessy lauded the fact that 53 per cent of this year’s graduates were female.
Three of the four graduates in the Grampians region were women.
A total of 187 paramedics will be deployed to metropolitan areas and 72 to stations in regional Victoria.
Ballarat’s Federation University is one of the institutions to offer the training with its Graduate Diploma of Paramedicine, while the Australian Catholic University Aquinas campus in Ballarat offers the combined Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine degree.