Tasmania’s largest health union is calling for legislative change so paramedics have easier access to post traumatic stress disorder treatment.
The Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) has submitted a discussion paper to the state government and wants PTSD to be recognised as a prescribed disease under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.
Currently, it’s up to paramedics to prove stress disorders were caused by work trauma.
But the union wants the legal onus of proof flipped, so employers or insurance companies would have to prove PTSD wasn’t contracted through work.
“Unfortunately, our members see and experience trauma every day,” HACSU state secretary Tim Jacobson said.
“Presumptive legislation will be a step towards normalising discussion about mental health.
“PTSD is an insipid disease. It not only affects the worker directly, but their colleagues, their loved ones and the community.”
The discussion paper looked at four case studies, including a veteran paramedic – one of the first on scene at the Port Arthur massacre – who has been diagnosed with chronic PTSD.
“I’ve still had to prove that I’ve got the disease after 41 years of doing this job,” he said.
PTSD illnesses related to firefighting are prescribed under a cause in the Act, something the union wants introduced for paramedics as well.
This article was originally published by News.com.au.
Tags: emergency, emergency workers, health, health and safety, paramedics, PTSD