‘Nightmare scenario’: Labor concerned about ambulance chief’s exit

Huon Labor MLC Bastian Seidel has expressed reservations about the looming exit of acting Ambulance Tasmania chief executive Matthew Eastham.
 Huon Labor MLC Bastian Seidel has expressed reservations about the looming exit of acting Ambulance Tasmania chief executive Matthew Eastham.

Labor is lamenting the looming departure of the Ambulance Tasmania boss, saying his exit could not have come at a worse time.

The organisation’s acting chief executive Matthew Eastham announced to staff on Wednesday his intention to resign, after accepting another job interstate.

It comes two weeks after a massive data breach sent shockwaves through Ambulance Tasmania.

Huon Labor MLC Bastian Seidel, a former president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said ambulance crews were under “enormous pressure”, with ramping rife in both Hobart and Launceston.

“It’s such a shame that now management is expecting a major shake-up because the senior manager is now leaving for an interstate position,” Dr Seidel said.

“If the leadership team is leaving for other positions interstate, this is just a nightmare scenario. And there will be flow-on effects – it will lead to more ramping, it will lead to more burn-out of our ambulance crews on the ground.

“Management needs continuity … If you switch and swap all the time it’s going to be very, very difficult to inspire confidence, in particular for the teams on the ground.”

In an email to staff on Wednesday, Mr Eastham said his time at Ambulance Tasmania had been “filled with great challenges, successes, setbacks and everything in between”.

Premier Peter Gutwein said Mr Eastham was a “very competent individual”.

“These are matters that are in the individual’s purview, not the government’s,” he said today. “People change jobs, unfortunately.”