Shake-up for West Yorkshire ambulance service workers

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Ambulance staff in West Yorkshire are being told today of changes to the way they work.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust says it plans to increase the number of qualified paramedics over the next five years and introduce a new role - an emergency care assistant.

The assistants, who have been used at other trusts, will work alongisde paramedics in ambulances.

They will provide clinical support and be trained to undertake emergency “blue light” response driving.

The trust says the changes will ensure it delivers the best possible clincal outcome for patients, achieves a sustainable level of performance and balances its budget.

It says there will be no reduction in the overall numbr of staff working on the A and E emergency service and no complusory redundancies.

David Whiting, chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “We have worked extremely hard to produce the right A and 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 and E staff as much as we possibly can during these challenging economic times.”

The trust will await a final and formal response from its recognised trade unions. If they are agreed, the trust will seek to implement the changes as quickly as possible.