MORE than half of Victorian paramedics are planning to quit their jobs in the next five years to look for higher paid work elsewhere, a new report shows.
A survey of 600 paramedics released on Friday shows that of the 55 per cent who planned to quit within five years, almost a third of them wanted to work as a paramedic elsewhere in Australia for higher pay.
Almost half of paramedics who said they would leave the Victorian service wanted to find work in another industry, while others were planning to retire or leave due to ill health.
The release of the study, commissioned by the ambulance employees union, comes as paramedics prepare to implement workplace bans from Friday as part of their fight with the state government for better pay and conditions.
The bans include paramedics refusing to work above their pay grade and speaking publicly about workplace conditions in their bid to obtain a pay rise of 30 per cent over three years.
Ambulance Employees Australia state secretary Steve McGhie has described as offensive a government pay offer under which paramedics would have to trade off overtime and entitlements to get yearly rises of up to 5 per cent.
Ambulance Victoria said it was bound by the government's public-sector wage policy of 2.5 per cent a year with any further rises to be traded for productivity gains.
Mr McGhie said the survey showed that Victoria could lose 1500 experienced paramedics within five years despite growing demand, in a stark warning to Premier Ted Baillieu.
"Victoria's paramedics are the best trained in the country yet they are also the lowest paid. That's putting unbearable pressure on them and forcing them to consider moving interstate where they will be valued as the professionals they are," he said.
Mr McGhie said staff shortages already resulted in hundreds of shifts going unfilled at ambulance stations each year, leaving critical service gaps.
He said 273 of the 295 paramedics recruited last year were new graduates and about 150 experienced paramedics were leaving the service each year.
Paramedics surveyed said Victoria did not have enough paramedics to meet current community needs.
One paramedic said: "We already aren't meeting time frames and response targets and the workload is increasing. Too many staff are leaving and the ones left are very inexperienced."
Another said: "People are not staying in the job for long any more and the service can't keep up with this attrition."