Calls for investigation into whistleblower claims

Calls for investigation into whistleblower claims

Published at 7:41am 18th December 2014. (Updated at 5:45pm 18th December 2014)

A union is calling for an investigation into Yorkshire Ambulance Service over patient safety.

Members of Unite have been in Harrogate gathering messages to pass on to local MPs.
The union says that paramedics who blew the whistle on plans to cut services and use unqualified staff on emergency call-outs are now facing disciplinary charges.

They claim to have revealed proposals for a 10% cut to the ambulance fleet and a 5% cut in staff numbers by 2018.

Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey said: "Staff must have the right to blow the whistle if they feel the service is gambling with patients' lives.

"From planned cuts to the use of unqualified Emergency Care Assistants, dispatched without qualified paramedics, Unite has exposed plans by the Board that, it's claimed, may put lives at risk.
"Today's action demonstrates the public's anger to these plans and the overwhelming support for the campaign to defend the whistleblowers.

"We call on the Board to stop trying to gag paramedics and enter into meaningful negotiations on patient safety."

Yorkshire Ambulance Service is responsible for five million potential patients.

Ian Brandwood, Executive Director of HR at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: "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.

"We refute the misleading claims Unite the union has made around patient safety, the role of Emergency Care Assistants and the Trust’s longer-term plans.

"Despite their campaign against us, we have tried to work with them to ensure we have a better relationship, yet they are failing to deliver on commitments they made and have consistently ignored calls to meet with us."