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Yorkshire Ambulance staff to consider strike action

Yorkshire ambulance staff are being balloted for strike action over changes in shift patterns which could mean paramedics going more than 10 hours without a meal break and staff being forced to work 12 hour shifts.

Unite, the country’s largest union, is balloting its 450 members at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust for strike action over the introduction of new elongated shift patterns next month.

The union wants a protected meal break of 30 minutes after six hours. It's the latest development in a long running dispute, coming just under a year since the Trust ceased to recognise the union after it raised concerns over the impact of £46 million cuts on patient safety.

Ambulance Trust misses crucial time target

Five ambulance trusts across England, including Yorkshire, failed to meet crucial response time targets, new figures suggest.

Ambulance crews across the country did not arrive on scene within eight minutes for 26% of patients who needed urgent emergency assistance last year, data suggests.

Crews are supposed to respond to 75% of "Red 1" emergency calls - the most critical calls which cover patients who have stopped breathing and do not have a pulse - within eight minutes.

But between 2012 and 2013, just 74% of patients were reached in the time frame,figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.

Crews in Yorkshire, the North West, the East Midlands, the East of England and the South West did not achieve the goal, according to the HSCIC.

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Ambulance staff strike over new emergency care workers row

Five hundred ambulance workers have joined picket lines across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire for a 12 hour walk out.

Members of the Unite Union are taking action because they say the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust are risking patient safety, by allowing new emergency care assistants to work with paramedics after only six weeks training.

Over the next five years the trust has to cut their budget by forty six million pounds. They say they'd like to reassure the public that the level of disruption will be minimal during industrial action.

500 ambulance workers walk out

Striking ambulance workers Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Five hundred ambulance workers have joined picket lines across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire for a 12 hour walk out.

Members of the Unite Union are taking action because they say the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust are risking patient safety, by allowing new emergency care assistants to work with paramedics after only six weeks training.

Over the next five years the trust has to cut their budget by forty six million pounds. They say they'd like to reassure the public that the level of disruption will be minimal during industrial action.

Union calls on Yorkshire Ambulance Service to enter 'meaningful talks'

Our members are increasingly concerned about patient safety because of the downgrading of the current skill level on NHS frontline vehicles in Yorkshire. We call yet again on the blinkered, hardline management at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to enter into meaningful talks with Unite. The continuing refusal of the management to discuss patient safety - which led to the de-recognition of the union - has left our members with no option but to take further industrial action."

– Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer

Yorkshire Ambulance workers prepare for strike

Union members also staged a strike in April

Yorkshire Ambulance workers are staging a fresh strike in a row over spending cuts. Members of Unite will walk out for 12 hours from midday with a further stoppage planned for June 22 if the dispute remains deadlocked.

The row centres on plans by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to make savings of £46 million over the next five years.

Unite, which has 500 members at the trust, said ambulance workloads were increasing by up to 6% every month.

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Unions: Ambulance cuts 'put patient safety at risk'

Unions claim spending cuts at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service will put patient safety at risk. Unite union members are to stage a fresh strike tomorrow, walking out for 12 hours from midday.

The row centres on plans by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to make savings of £46 million over the next five years. Unite, which has 500 members at the trust, said ambulance workloads were increasing by up to 6% every month.

Our members are increasingly concerned about patient safety because of the downgrading of the current skill level on NHS frontline vehicles in Yorkshire. We call yet again on the blinkered, hardline management at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to enter into meaningful talks with Unite. The continuing refusal of the management to discuss patient safety - which led to the derecognition of the union - has left our members with no option but to take further industrial action.

– Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer

Yorkshire hiring in more private ambulances

The amount of money spent on private ambulances in Yorkshire more than tripled between 2010/11 and 2012/13. Figures from freedom of information requests show the cost increased from £500,000 to £1.8m.

Labour has warned of a risk to patient safety saying people would be stunned that "blue-light 999 services" were being privatised without proper debate. He will write to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to ask for an urgent assurance about the safety and quality of all privately emergency ambulances.

People will be stunned to learn that even blue-light 999 services are being privatised without proper debate. It is proof that the Coalition sees no limits on privatisation in the NHS. They are driving the private sector into the public core of the NHS, offering up essential emergency provision to the lowest bidder. Whistleblowers have contacted Labour with concerns that even the most serious 999 calls are being handled by private ambulances without properly trained staff and equipment. This is cost-cutting privatisation at its crudest, with a real risk that patient safety will be compromised.

– Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham

On Wednesday the House of Lords will debate controversial rules which could open the health service up to more competition.

Contracts to deliver patient transport are decided locally, and should be based on what is required to meet patient demand. As we know the NHS is seeing an extra one million more patients in A&E compared to two years ago and despite the additional workload it is coping well. Using a variety of healthcare providers to deliver patient transport services is a system which was started under the last Labour government but is an approach they now criticise. This rank hypocrisy shows the Labour party is more concerned with playing party politics than meeting the needs of patients.

– Spokesperson for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
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