Paramedic film released ahead of strike ballot

Ambulance
Ambulance

A hard-hitting film made by paramedics has been released ahead of ambulance staff being balloted on strike action.

UNISON has posted the short film which contains harrowing descriptions of some of the more challenging situations the medics are called to.

One describes how the memory of a car crash victim has stayed with him, while another medic recalls the time she was called to a hanging.

The footage reveals how East of England Ambulance Service staff are expected to “have all the answers” when they arrive, but are becoming increasingly concerned as they are forced to work longer hours.

UNISON branch secretary Fraer Stevenson said members will be balloted on industrial action over a lack of rest breaks and enforced overtime which can result in 12-hour shifts over-running by up to six hours.

She said: “Excessive working hours are a danger to the safety of both patients and staff. We are asking for a 45-minute meal break, a 20-minute break later in the shift, and for crews to return to base at the end of their shift and only be asked to attend the highest category of calls while en route back to base.

“The decision to consider industrial action was taken after 12 months of negotiations failed to achieve any positive changes.”

UNISON has approached the arbitration service ACAS for assistance and will start discussions with the ambulance trust tomorrow (Tuesday) in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

An e-petition to support ambulance crews is at www.putbacktheheart.com/epetition

The video can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/166925830