Ambulance workers across Yorkshire are set to stage a one-day strike next month in a long running row over cutbacks and changes to the service. The Unite union is protesting against plans to have people with six weeks training working alongside paramedics.
– Stephen Moir, Deputy Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
We would like to reassure members of the public that the changes we are introducing to our A&E workforce will enable us to continue to deliver a high quality and responsive service to patients and they will always remain our top priority.
We would also like to provide assurance that theTrust has plans in place to avoid any disruption to patient care if Unite the Union members decide to go ahead with the industrial action they have outlined today.”
Yorkshire ambulance workers have voted to hold a one day strike on Tuesday 2nd April. Members of the Unite union will work out because of a dispute over cost cutting measures which could see assistants with only six weeks training brought in to work with paramedics.
Union members also voted in favour of implementing a continuous overtime ban from 26th March.
Unite calls for the management to open constructive negotiations in the run-up to 2 April. This is a final window of opportunity for the trust to resolve this situation for the benefit of the Yorkshire public. The management has been trying to silence Unite after it raised legitimate concerns over patient safety that could flow from the shake-up of ambulance services in the next five years.
– Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer
Now our members have voted for strike action on 2 April and for a continuous overtime ban from 26 March. It shows the depth of concern that our members feel about patient safety because of the £46 million of savings that managers want to implement. The hardline management has responded by derecognising Unite and twice rejecting our attempts to take this dispute to Acas and to discuss the implications of industrial action.”
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust will be trialling a low emission hybrid electric vehicle over the next few months as part of its emergency fleet in the York area.
The Vauxhall Ampera car will operate as a rapid response vehicle responding to emergencies in the city to see how hybrid electric vehicles might be incorporated into the Trust’s 900 vehicle fleet in the future.
Its electric transmission is backed up by a petrol engine which boosts the car’s mileage range.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service is the first ambulance service in the country to run a long-term trial of a low emission vehicle as part of its fleet. It's working closely with York City Council, which will provide power points across the city.
Proposed cost-cutting changes to staffing at A&E departments - including using Emergency Care Assistants to work alongside paramedics** **- have been attacked by unions.
Yorkshire Ambulance Trust insists there will be no overall reduction in the number of staff and no compulsory redundancies over the next five years. It says there will also be increased training opportunities. But unions representing staff argue it would downgrade the service.
Ray Gray is from Unison.
The Yorkshire Ambulance Service says it has received an "unprecedented" number of calls for help across Yorkshire - mainly due to the icy weather. Bosses instigated their "Major Incident Plan" in response.
The worst-hit areas were West and South Yorkshire. Between 6am and 9am this morning ambulance staff responded to 465 incidents against a predicted 190 emergencies. There were nine times the number of falls needing an emergency response (221 falls - only 25 were expected).
By 4pm this afternoon, staff had responded to 2,156 emergencies.
“We received hundreds of 999 calls for weather-related incidents and have been treating a lot of patients involved in road traffic collisions and injured in slips, trips and falls. These calls were in addition to other medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.
“Due to this unprecedented demand, we took a decision to activate our Major Incident Plan. This puts special arrangements in place to cope, such as using our non-emergency Patient Transport Service to assist the A&E service. In addition, we have also received additional support from neighbouring NHS ambulance services.
– Dr Alison Walker, Executive Medical Director, Yorkshire Ambulance NHS Trust
“Our staff across the region have been working extremely hard to respond as quickly and as safely as possible to patients needing our help and we would like to thank members of the public and patients for their understanding during this challenging time.
“We would continue to ask the public only call 999 ambulance service when they think someone has a life-threatening illness or injury.”
Twenty-eight staff from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have volunteeredfor secondments with London Ambulance Service to help the millions of spectatorsexpected at the London 2012 Olympic Games.