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Ambulance service say strike is 'not in the best interests of patients'

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has released a statement about today's strike. It aims to reassure people about contingency plans. The public are reminded, however, to only call for an ambulance in seriou or life-threatening circumstances.

"... Unite the Union has confirmed that its members will not be responding to any 999 calls during the 24-hour period. I am deeply concerned over this type of action, which I believe will be of concern to all of our A&E staff, who are very committed to patient care, and will place many of them in a very difficult situation.

“... I do not believe that industrial action in this form is in the best interests of patients, and it is deeply concerning for a trade union representing ambulance service workers to strike without making any concessions to patient safety."

– David Whiting, Chief Executive

“Throughout the 24-hour period of the strike, and the continuous overtime ban that Unite the Union commenced on 26 March 2013, our focus will be on taking steps to maintain operational cover to sustain effective and safe services.”This action will undoubtedly place strain on our 999 service, and therefore the Trust is reminding the public to use the service wisely for patients with serious and life-threatening conditions only during the 24-hour period of industrial action..."

– David Whiting, Chief Executive

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Ambulance workers start ban on overtime

Ambulance workers to start ban on overtime Credit: Lewis Stickley/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Over four hundred paramedics and other ambulance staff across Yorkshire are starting a continous ban on overtime from today.

Members of the Unite union have voted in favour of the action in a row over patient safety. They're concerned about plans to introduce new emergency care assistants to work alongside regular paramedics.

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Lincolnshire Health Committee wants 'flawed' consultation to be reviewed

Credit: PA

The Health Scrutiny Committee for Lincolnshire is to write to the Secretary of State to ask for East Midlands Ambulance Service’s (EMAS) “flawed” consultation to be reviewed – with the committee’s ultimate goal being a return to a dedicated ambulance service for the county.

Meanwhile, the members also quizzed the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) on its death rate figures being higher than expected and received a number of reassurances.

The decision to write to the Government was made at its meeting yesterday (March 20), after the committee expressed concerns over EMAS’ recent consultation process and its ambulance response times.

Ambulance workers may strike

Yorkshire ambulance workers could strike in what they claim is a dispute over patient safety and the derecognition of Unite, the country’s largest union.

Unite is now beginning the legal process to ballot its 450 paramedics and other ambulance staff members at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust for strike action or industrial action short of a strike. The ballot result could be known by the end of the month.

“I can confirm that Unite has begun the legal process to hold an industrial action ballot over the trust’s unilateral decision to derecognise Unite.

– Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe

The union is unhappy with plans to introduce emergency care assistants, or ECAs to work alongside more highly-trained paramedics. The ECA staff have only six weeks training, when a paramedic undergoes a two-year degree course.

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Report into public response to closure of ambulance stations questioned by MP

Ambulance Credit: ITV Central

A report considering views given during a consultation into plans to change services by East Midlands Ambulance Service is being questioned by the Bassetlaw MP, John Mann.

The report looks at the responses from local people over plans to close 66 ambulance stations around the region and instead set up 'super hubs' and standby points.

The report says "most respondents support the change in principle" but John Mann says 19,000 people in his constituency have objected to the plans.

On Mr Mann's website he calls the report a “misrepresentation of the response to the consultation” and has suggested that “Such bias in representing the facts is simply unacceptable and is a breach of both NHS guidelines and legislation.”

East Midlands Ambulance Service says a decision won't be made today. It's an opportunity for the board to assess responses. A decision is expected at the end of the month.

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