A trade union has claimed Yorkshire Ambulance Service may be “gambling with patients’ lives”.
Unite hosted a demonstration in London, raising a giant wheel of fortune at Westminster to highlight its complaints about the use of lower skilled Emergency Care Assistants (ECAs) to Yorkshire based MPs.
And the leader of the union, Len McClusky, also said they were investigating claims Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) had “manipulated” data to meet NHS targets.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service has hit back accusing the union of “misleading” and “factually incorrect” complaints.
The row has erupted as Unite’s Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) branch prepares to mark two years since it was de-recognised by ambulance chiefs over its protest at the introduction of ECAs.
The union and YAS have been at loggerheads ever since and negotiations through ACAS have failed to resolve the impasse.
Mr McCluskey said: “Yorkshire Ambulance Service must ensure that no practice could be said to be gambling with patients’ lives.
“Unite is investigating a large number of complaints by patients.
“Unite is also investigating allegations of staff being pressurised into manipulating call out data to meet targets.
“It is a disgrace that staff who have blown the whistle on unsafe practices feel victimised by a failure to allow them full union representation.
“The bully boy attempt to gag the union of these workers will not stop Unite exposing the truth.”
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Interim Chief Executive, Rod Barnes said: “We refute the latest misleading claims being made by Unite the Union around patient safety, the role of Emergency Care Assistants, and the Trust’s longer-term plans.
“Patients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do and our absolute focus is to ensure that we continue to deliver a safe, responsive and high quality service to our patients.
“Our Emergency Care Assistants work in a clinical support capacity alongside a fully-trained clinician.
“They are operating well within their capability following their training and carry out a valued role at the Trust”.