NSW paramedic says he was suspended after taking COVID vaccine battle to court

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A Riverina paramedic who last week challenged the requirement for all NSW health workers to have a COVID vaccine, said he was suspended from duty with immediate effect.

Tumut-based paramedic John Larter has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court challenging the health order that requires healthcare workers to receive their first dose of vaccine by the end of the month, unless they have a medical exemption.

Mr Larter said following a meeting with the NSW Paramedic Council on Friday he was informed by email today that he had been suspended by the council.

He said he understood this to mean he couldn’t work as a paramedic for NSW Ambulance.

“It is basically said that I cannot operate in any capacity, voluntary or paid,” said Mr Larter, who described it as “quite disappointing”.

As of last week, 82% of paramedics in NSW were fully immunized.(

Provided: NSW Ambulance

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Mr Larter said he was one of seven paramedics based at the Tumut ambulance station and was also the station manager.

“I feel for my colleagues because [of] the pressure that will be exerted on them by these decisions, to eliminate these front-line workers. “

No reason given for the decision

Mr Larter said no reason for the council’s decision was given in the email, which called for the matter to be reported, including the reasons, within a month.

He said he believed the reason he was suspended was because he had spoken out – both in his lawsuit and in speaking to the media about his views.

“None of these media appearances argued against vaccination, and I think the whole process was a complete farce.

“What did they do? They took someone off the road as a paramedic with 25 years of experience,” Mr. Larter said.

“If they think that’s an appropriate response – suspending someone for making a few comments in the media – then that goes a long way to show their leadership, their management and their culture.”

The ABC has contacted the NSW Paramedic Council for comment.

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Mr Larter said he would fight the “completely ridiculous” decision.

“We will fight this and we will fight the other Supreme Court case.

“But it’s not my goal to get my job back, I want to get everyone’s work back.”

Mr Larter’s lawsuit was scheduled for a Supreme Court instruction hearing on September 28.

An online campaign to help fund legal fees has raised more than $ 75,000 from more than 1,000 donors since its launch last week.

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