A trade union has said the sudden resignation of Yorkshire’s ambulance chief should herald “a new era in patient safety.”
The comments were made by Unite representative Terry Cunliffe after David Whiting, chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, stood down on Monday.
Mr Whiting oversaw the “de-recognition” of Unite in January 2013 after the union complained about re-structuring of the workforce, sparking a series of walk outs by Unite members.
The service is also set to be hit by another large scale strike on Monday as union members from Unite and Unison walk out for four hours on Monday morning.
The Examiner understands Mr Whiting’s resignation also comes just days before the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) is to be inspected by watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
At the public Governing Body meeting of Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group last week, members were told other health organisations were being asked for “intelligence” to feed into the CQC’s inspection of YAS.
The inspection comes as the embattled ambulance service continues to struggle to meet its targets for attending the most urgent 999 calls.
As reported last month, in Huddersfield YAS breached NHS guidelines to attend the most serious life threatening calls 358 times (one out of three calls) last August.
Mr Cunliffe, who has been locked in an impasse with YAS for almost two years, said it was time for a fresh start for the embattled service.
He said: “This is not a time for recriminations, but a time to rebuild the service for the benefit of patients and staff.
“We see this as a new chapter opening up and Unite is determined to play a constructive role in this renewal process
“Unite will be seeking an early meeting with the new chief executive when he or she is appointed for talks to rebuild the service.
“I would also like to pay great tribute to our members who have shown enormous solidarity and resolve during very difficult times over the last two years.”
Health workers are set to walk out on Monday to take part in nationally agreed industrial action.
Midwives, nurses and paramedics across Kirklees and Calderdale are among thousands of NHS staff set to strike from 7am to 11am.
Those working in urgent care will offer “life and limb” support during the four hours of industrial action.
Union members are asked to “work to rule” until Friday, November 28 by refusing to do overtime and insisting on taking their breaks.
In all, members of 11 unions will walk out in another show of protest at the coalition’s controversial decision not to accept a recommended one per cent pay rise for all NHS staff.
The strike comes just six weeks after last month’s walk out – the biggest NHS strike since 1982.
The October 13 strike saw picket lines at Huddersfield Ambulance Station on Trinity Street and at the Acre Street entrance of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Members have vowed they will continue action until Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt agrees to resume pay talks.
A similar strike by local government workers was averted after fresh talks were agreed.