Ambulance bosses' World Cup sickness clampdown scrapped

Staff applaud "common sense" climbdown

Ambulance chiefs have scrapped plans for a clampdown on staff taking sick leave during the World Cup.

Last week Hayden Newton, chief executive of the East of England Ambulance Service, issued a bulletin to staff announcing a new policy on sickness absence during the World Cup.

This called for all staff who take time off to obtain notes from their GP, introduced return to work interviews for anyone who has two or more separate absences, and restrictions on overtime for anyone with "unacceptable sickness levels".

Jonathan Fox, spokesman for the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel and a serving paramedic, said: "Common sense has prevailed.

"Ambulance staff throughout England sometimes feel pressure to stay at work when they don't feel fit to do so. because of the policies that are in place.

"It is a very stressful job, that exposes staff to risks of abuse, sickness and accidents. And unfortunately policy doesn't seem to reflect that when it comes to managing absence."

He added: "There is another side to it, that if you care as much as I do about the World Cup then you can book your holiday in advance so you can watch the football."

The East of England Ambulance Service declined to comment.

Should there be policies to reduce sickness absence in the World Cup?

Email your opinion to