A Riverina paramedic who last week challenged the requirement for all New South Wales health workers to have a COVID vaccine, says he has been suspended from work effective immediately.
- John Larter says he’s been told he can’t work after a decision by a health regulatory body
- The paramedic is challenging a state government vaccine mandate in court
- He says he will fight the decision to suspend him
Tumut-based paramedic John Larter started legal action in the Supreme Court, challenging the health order that requires healthcare workers to have their first dose of the vaccine by the end of the month unless they have a medical exemption.
Mr Larter said following a meeting with the Paramedicine Council of NSW on Friday, he was advised via email on Monday that he had been suspended by the council.
He said he understood that to mean he could not work as a paramedic for NSW Ambulance.
“It’s essentially said that I can’t operate in any capacity, voluntary or in any paid capacity,” said Mr Larter, who described it as “pretty disappointing”.
Mr Larter said he was one of seven paramedics based at Tumut Ambulance Station and was also station manager.
“I feel for my colleagues because [of] the pressure that’s going to be placed on them by these decisions, to take out these frontline workers.”
No reason given for decision
Mr Larter said no reasons for the council’s decision were outlined in the email, which advised the matter would be reported on, including the reasons, within a month.
He said he believed the reason he had been suspended was because he had spoken out — both in his court action and by speaking to the media about his views.
“None of those media appearances were advocating against vaccination, and I think the whole process has been a complete farce.
“What have they done? They’ve taken somebody off the road as a paramedic with 25 years’ experience,” Mr Larter said.
“If they think that that’s an appropriate response — to suspend somebody for making a couple of media comments — then that goes a long way to demonstrating their leadership and their management and their culture.”
A spokesperson for the Paramedicine Council of NSW said the Council’s “paramount obligation” was to protect the public by ensuring paramedics practiced safely and in accordance with professional standards.
The spokesperson said, under state law, the Council could suspend a health practitioner’s registration “for the protection of the health or safety of the public, and/or otherwise in the public interest”.
“Under … confidentiality provisions … the Council is unable to disclose the reasons why Mr Larter was suspended,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Larter said he would be fighting the “completely ridiculous” decision.
“We’ll be fighting that and we’ll be fighting the other matter in the Supreme Court.
“But it’s not my focus to get my job back, I want to get everyone’s job back.”
Mr Larter’s legal action was listed for a directions hearing in the Supreme Court on September 28.
An online campaign to help fund his legal expenses had raised more than $75,000 from more than 1,000 donors since it was launched last week.