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Ambulance Service strained during strike action

News Article, York, Yorkshire

Article By: Dave Roberts

First Published: 03 April 2013

IN A PUBLIC STATEMENT Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said the twenty four hour strike ending this morning, would undoubtedly place strain on the 999 service, and reminded the public to only use the service for life threatening conditions, or serious injury during the 24 hour strike period.

Paul Mudd, Locality Director of Emergency Operations, said: "The strike action has involved less than 10 per cent of the total staff employed by the Trust and the vast majority of our staff have been working as normal, delivering safe services to patients across the region.

"The Trust recognises the legal right for those of our staff who are members of Unite to participate in industrial action, but our focus is to balance that right with the need to first safeguard patient care and safety. However, I do not believe that industrial action in this form is in the best interests of patients, and it is deeply concerning for a trade union representing ambulance service workers to strike without making any concessions to patient safety."

In a previous statement Yorkshire Ambulance Service said that it has de-recognised Unite the Union for the purposes of collective bargaining, including negotiations on behalf of their members.

On the other hand Unite the Union said it had offered to talk with the Trust in an attempt to settle the dispute. At a picket line in York, I spoke with union representative John Craft who told me the reason he and his colleagues were on strike is to fight the Trust's decision to introduce lesser trained Emergency Care Assistants as ambulance crew members, a decision that he said would put lives at risk.

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: "We are very conscious that the public in Yorkshire wants to see this dispute settled and we also want a resolution, but not at the expense of patient safety.

"To achieve this means addressing the underlying issues which are the de-recognition of Unite and discussing the workforce plan.

"I would be happy to meet the trust's chief executive David Whiting, the deputy chief executive Stephen Moir and the trust chair Della Cannings, under the auspices of the conciliation service Acas for meaningful and constructive talks."

David Whiting, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service said: "I am deeply concerned over this type of action, which I believe will be of concern to all of our A&E staff, who are very committed to patient care, and will place many of them in a very difficult situation."





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