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Unite says ambulance funding will not fix crisis

Unite says ambulance funding will not fix crisis

24 April 2017

Unite the union says funding from the Scottish Government to support paramedics will not address the fundamental crisis in the ambulance service.

Today (Mon 24 Apr) the Scottish Government announced that it would invest £6.3 million in paramedic training, with the idea of treating more patients in the community. 

Unite welcomed the funding, but said that Ministers need to do much more to address ongoing problems.

Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Additional skills and money are always welcome. But the primary job of the ambulance service has to be providing accident and emergency cover for the people of Scotland, wherever they live. Our members believe the ambulance service is failing to provide that in too many areas of the country. 

“The ambulance service seems able to get funding for certain specific projects, but not to support the frontline service. We need more investment to cover the growth of inter-hospital transfers, and reduce the reliance on ‘on-call’ rotas and other poor working practices that cause stress and fatigue for our members. Without that, service to the public will continue to suffer.”

Unite ambulance members in the north of Scotland on 3 March voted to start an official dispute regarding concerns about the service being provided to the public.  

Some 95 per cent of members who voted said they had no confidence in the North Divisional management of SAS, and instructed Unite to register a formal dispute. 

Unite has asked the ambulance service to take action on: 

  • Ambulances not being available for 999 emergency because they are being used to transfer patients to hospital
  • Emergency cover in Aberdeen being propped up by crews being shifted from other areas of the SAS North Division, creating shortage of cover in other rural areas
  • Workers consistently working over their scheduled hours 
  • Worker fatigue

ENDS   

Notes to editors

For further information contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631 / david.eyre@unitetheunion.org