YORKSHIRE ambulance shake-up plans will jeopardise patient care, says Unite.
The union claims the planned shake-up of the Yorkshire ambulance service is all about cost-cutting and nothing about improving patient care.
Unite, the country’s largest union, voiced concern over the proposals by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to bring in emergency care assistants to work alongside more highly-trained paramedics.
It is aimed at saving £46m.
Unite regional officer, Terry Cunliffe said: “Currently, paramedics undergo a two-year degree course to equip them with the correct skills to respond to patients. The new proposed emergency care assistant role will be responding to emergencies with only six weeks training.
“This could lead to situations, such as multiple car crashes and house fires, when the emergency care assistants won’t have the necessary skills to support the paramedics.
“Our biggest concern is about patient care. Members of the public will have a decreased level of clinical response with overworked staff whose morale has been badly hit by this misguided de-skilling plan.”
The union claims the trust currently has over 300 staff who will be demoted and de-skilled as a result of the plans being introduced and the majority of these staff will have little or no opportunity of further training for at least seven years.
The service has pledged that pay levels will be protected.
They are set for further talks on the proposals.