Unite raises concerns over crisis in ambulance service...

Unite raises concerns over crisis in ambulance service that is putting lives at risk

26 June 2017

Unite, Scotland’s largest union, has raised concerns after management were found begging workers to work over their holidays.

The dangerously overstretched ambulance service needed workers to provide overtime cover, with management pleading with some workers to cover instead of going on holiday. 

Unite is concerned that the failure to provide core cover will lead to a issues around patient safety.

The Scottish Ambulance Service management is having to practically beg workers to provide additional cover whilst on annual leave to prop up an overstretched service.

Unite rep Jamie McNamee said: “All workers need a break away from their workplace to recover from the demands of the job. Ambulance workers particularly are faced with emergency situations on a daily basis, witnessing things most people won’t have to see in a lifetime. Yet ambulance service managers think it is OK to pressurise our members to work their holidays. It’s disgraceful.

“Holiday leave is needed to recover from the pressures of a stressful and often traumatic work environment. Trade unions fought hard for holidays and we don’t intend to give them away because management can’t work their rotas properly.

“This is yet more evidence, as if we need it, of the crisis in our public services.

“We don’t believe the crisis in the Scottish Ambulance Service is being reported by management. Something needs to be done before lives are lost.

“If the Scottish Ambulance Service's managers feel they need extra cover over holiday periods, they should recruit more people to do it.”

Unite has asked the Scottish Ambulance Service to withdraw this request, however it has refused. This situation is being exacerbated by the Scottish Ambulance Service obsession with providing cover for public and private events at the cost of front line accident and emergency provision, leaving a substandard level of provision.

A survey of ambulance workers carried out by Unite found that 54.3 per cent suffer from stress. A further 94.5 per cent have said morale has worsened. 91.4 per cent said that staffing levels were insufficient and 90.4 per cent said they were suffering from fatigue.

Unite has also raised concerns over the use of ambulances to transfer non-emergency patients to and from hospital and doctors surgeries, basically using the vehicles as taxis.


For further information contact Jamie McNamee senior shop steward on 07825117524

Notes to editors:

  • The survey was sent by email to 837 members in April. We received a response rate of 39 per cent.
  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty. Twitter: @UniteScotland Facebook: UniteScotland