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Yorkshire Ambulance Service service denies cost-cutting
9:57am Wednesday 9th January 2013 in News
AMBULANCE bosses have been accused of cost-cutting after announcing they would introduce emergency care assistants to work alongside trained paramedics.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service announced to its staff on Monday changes to its accident and emergency workforce, including increasing the number of qualified paramedics over the next five years – but also introducing emergency care assistants, which it said have been used successfully in other services.
The assistants would be trained in “blue light” driving and would support more highly trained paramedics.
But Unite union regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “Currently, paramedics undergo a two-year degree course to equip them with the correct skills to respond to patients. The new proposed emergency care assistant role will be responding to emergencies with only six weeks training.
“This could lead to situations, such as multiple car crashes and house fires, when the emergency care assistants won’t have the necessary skills to support the paramedics.”
David Whiting, chief executive of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said the proposals would not lead to redundancies, a reduction in the A&E workforce or have an a impact on patient care or safety.
He said: “Our proposals also allow us to build on our current clinical support worker arrangements with emergency care assistants working alongside paramedics on ambulances. This role has been used successfully for a number of years, in other ambulance services, to deliver an appropriate level of clinical support to their paramedic colleagues.”