On Monday 7 January 2013, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust will outline to staff its final plan on changes to its A&E workforce.
These proposed changes will ensure that the region’s ambulance service continues to deliver the best possible clinical outcomes for patients, achieves a sustainable level of performance in response to emergencies and balances its budget over each of the coming five years.
The Trust’s plan contains a series of detailed changes, but mainly focuses upon significantly increasing its number of qualified paramedics over the next five years and retaining our tier of paramedics with additional clinical skills.
In addition, the Trust plans to build upon its current clinical support worker arrangements by introducing a consistent role, known as an Emergency Care Assistant, to work alongside paramedics on ambulances. Emergency Care Assistants have been used successfully for a number of years in other ambulance services to deliver an appropriate level of clinical support to their paramedic colleagues. They are also trained to undertake emergency “blue light” response driving.
The proposals will also ensure that there will be no reduction in the overall number of staff working on the A&E emergency service and no compulsory redundancies.
Other key elements include:
- pay protection arrangements to ensure that no A&E staff have any reduction in their current level of pay over the next five years;
- a commitment to remain aligned to the national terms and conditions of employment for NHS staff.
In addition, the Trust plans to open up a broad range of fully-funded training opportunities for hundreds of staff over the five-year period which will be delivered through higher education institutions within Yorkshire. This will also enable staff to progress to more senior roles in the future, as well as ensuring that existing staff are given the best opportunity possible to become paramedics.
Outlining the plans David Whiting, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said:
We have worked extremely hard to produce the right A&E workforce plan for the Trust over the next five years. This has involved detailed negotiations and consultation with trade union representatives, which has led to this improved final plan being put to our staff.
Our absolute focus throughout this process has been to ensure that we continue to deliver a safe, responsive and high quality service to the people of Yorkshire over the coming years. We have also sought to ensure we protect the current employment and future career prospects of our A&E staff as much as we possibly can during these challenging economic times.
The Trust’s plan has been developed following extensive consultation and negotiation with the recognised trade unions, UNISON and Unite. These negotiations have already resulted in improved proposals being formally consulted upon over a 90-day period with staff and the Trust has carefully considered the feedback it received. Further detailed discussions were then held with the trade unions at the end of 2012 to arrive at the final plan being released on 7 January 2013, which the Trust considers to be the best that can be achieved through negotiation.
Following the release of the plan on 7 January 2013, the Trust will await the final and formal response from its recognised trade unions to these proposed changes. If these changes are agreed then the Trust will seek to implement them as quickly as possible.