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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
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.

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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.

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

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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

Ambulance service says patients still "top priority" despite strike action

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.”

– Stephen Moir, Deputy Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Yorkshire ambulance workers vote in favour of strike action

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.

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.”

– Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer
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