Human management

Ambulance Tasmania ‘confidential’ investigative information passed in full to management by third party company

Personal information that Ambulance Tasmania employees thought they were sharing anonymously as part of a workplace culture survey was eventually passed on to the organization’s bosses, according to Right to Know documents.

Last month the ABC revealed that an extraordinary number of Ambulance Tasmania staff said they suffered from mental health issues, and some were self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, after a “resilience analysis” collected anonymous feedback from the workforce last year.

A third-party company, Frontline Mind, was contracted to undertake the ‘resilience scan’, asking employees to share experiences of working for Ambulance Tasmania, which they were told would be anonymous.

However, Right to Know documents obtained by the ABC indicate that all of the data collected by Frontline Mind was then passed on to the bosses of Ambulance Tasmania.

This is despite the fact that it included personal information that could potentially identify the employees who took part in the “anonymous” survey.

Some Ambulance Tasmania staff self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.(Facebook: Ambulance Tasmania)

An email from a Frontline Mind employee to Ambulance Tasmania boss Joe Acker states that “After some trickery I managed to format the full dataset as an attachment”.

“I hope this works for the purposes required – I think it’s important to note that this could be taken out of context quite easily, so I advise some discretion as to who has access to this,” wrote the Frontline Mind employee.

A series of fully redacted pages follow. The pages have been compiled on the basis that they contain personal information and information collected in confidence.

Ambulance Tasmania chief executive Joe Acker said the resiliency analysis was conducted anonymously and his organization could not control whether a person chose to put identifying details into the experience. she chose to share.

“For this reason, the confidentiality framework extends to the management team working with an accepted ‘Chatham House Rule’ when reviewing stories and models,” Acker said.

Mr Acker said the idea of ​​the anonymous analysis was to encourage people to share honest answers.

“The Resilience Scan is designed to look at stories at scale to track themes and patterns, not individual, specific stories,” he said.

Frontline Mind’s chief operating officer, Dorian Broomhall, said the analysis did not collect any personal information and employees were asked not to identify others directly in their stories.

He also said that using the “Chatham House rule” ensured that the stories were kept confidential by this group of people.

“We do not share unedited stories outside of the agency as they may be taken out of context, although representative examples are used in the form of a dashboard accessible to all staff,” a- he declared.

“Connecting leaders to their company’s frontline information is the normal process of how we conduct resilience analysis, having conducted it with dozens of agencies here in Tasmania and elsewhere.”

Labor leader Rebecca White said the government should explain how the information sharing happened.

“Whenever we ask employees to take part in a process to understand what is going on in the culture of an organization – and in this case it demonstrated significant issues in the culture of Ambulance Tasmania – not only do they must act to solve this problem, they or they [also] must ensure that information, when shared, is handled appropriately,” Ms White said.

Mr Acker promised an overhaul of Ambulance Tasmania’s culture after receiving the results of the resilience scan last year.

He was ordered following a series of disturbing testimony from staff given during the inquest into paramedic Damian Crump, who killed himself using drugs he stole from the supply store in the ambulance service in 2016.