The Supporting Emergency Responders Bill (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

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1. Introduction and background
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Robbie Butler MLA plans to introduce a Private Member’s Bill.  The Bill will create a duty on specific Public Sector Employers to consider and mitigate through recruitment, training, supervision and support in respect of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Emergency responders, such as police personnel, firefighters, paramedics and prison officers (Emergency responders) in Northern Ireland.  Primarily he wishes to create statutory duties over and above current health and safety requirements in respect of people whose occupation necessarily exposes them to traumatic experiences such as severe injury, loss of life or working in high risk or hostile environments.  Prior to politics Robbie spent 20 years working in both the Northern Ireland Prison Service and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. He has a firm grasp of many of the challenges and operational events that are unique to personnel who in their line of duty are exposed routinely to dangerous conditions, complex scenarios and hostile situations.  Each of the agencies referenced in this proposal has public safety and protecting life at the core of its operational objectives. However, the unknown and emergency response aspects of this work dealing with traumatic and often lifechanging incidents come at an emotional cost. It is well recognised that responding to and dealing with such events and their cumulative impact increases the risk of developing PTSD and other conditions of mental ill health.  Mr Butler MLA believes there is room to develop the work already in place to ensure that these Emergency responders, mentioned above, get the very best training, supervision and support available to reduce rates of long-term sickness, early ill health retirement and mental ill health conditions arising from cumulative or unaddressed trauma exposure. He hopes that measures can be introduced that will not only address the health and well-being of these valuable public servants but will boost retention rates. This consultation runs from 26/01/2021 to 23/03/2021  For the purpose of this research, police personnel, firefighters, paramedics’ and prison officers will be referred to as Emergency responders