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Yorkshire MPs to be lobbied over ambulance ‘patient sa...

Yorkshire MPs to be lobbied over ambulance ‘patient safety’ dispute

19 November 2013

Yorkshire paramedics will be lobbying the county’s MPs tomorrow (Wednesday 20 November) on the long-running ambulance service ‘patient safety’ dispute.

Paramedics, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, will travel to Westminster to lobby more than 40 MPs to drive home their concerns on the issues of patient safety and large scale funding cuts.

They will also be raising the derecognition of Unite by the hardline management at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

The lobby will be held between 12.45-14.00 in committee room 9, House of Commons tomorrow and will be addressed by ‘shadow’ health secretary Andy Burnham.

The dispute centres on the trust’s plans to cut the budget by £46 million over the next five years - even though Unite said the ambulance workloads were increasing month-by-month by as much as six per cent.

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “The lobby is designed to highlight the very real concerns that we have about patient safety in Yorkshire as what the trust proposes means the removal of a number of skilled technician staff from ambulances.

“They are being replaced by emergency care assistant roles (ECAs) who are being given only six weeks training - only half of which is in clinical skills.

“Unite is interested in the backing of Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, of a new pilot in Surrey which is promoting more highly qualified paramedics who can treat people on the scene to cut down on emergency hospital admissions. Yorkshire’s plans accelerate the service in the opposite direction of this expert clinical advice.”

Unite is  calling for more training for the ECAs, so they have the proper skill set to tackle the more demanding tasks now being asked of them. The union is also increasingly concerned at the continued and increasing use of private ambulance firms to 'plug the gaps' in NHS 999 responses.

ENDS

For further information please contact: Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer: on 07776 202007; Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health on 07768 693933; Debbie Wilkinson, Unite senior rep at the trust on 07815 145054; Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.