Strike warning over North West Ambulance service's £6m cuts

Strike warning over £6m ambulance cuts

Strike warning over £6m ambulance cuts

First published in News
Last updated
Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

AMBULANCE unions could ballot for strike action if plans to cut more than £6- million of ‘front-line services’ are forced through.

It is understood the North West Ambulance Service proposes to slash night cover at some stations, remove day vehicles from others, and reduce the amount it spends on overtime payments.

The trust’s Cost Improvement Plan for 2014/15 includes £6.5million of savings with the Paramedic Emergency Service, which the GMB union said were front-line cuts.

The union did not cite any savings affecting the level of ambulance cover in East Lancashire, but said many of the proposals would still have an impact.

Ray Carrick, regional officer, said: “At some stations in the North West you could see one out of two ambulances removed from a 12-hour night shift, so there’s no question this would result in cuts to front line cover. In fairness to the trust these are only proposals at the moment, so are subject to change, but we are opposed to cuts which are simply designed to save money and will affect patient care. We don’t accept the trust are in any kind of financial difficulty as they’ve got about £31million in banked cash.”

He said the branch was undecided on strike action, but added ‘ultimately we would’.

The Unite union has also said the changes could result in a strike ballot.

However, Alan Stuttard, deputy chief executive and director of finance for NWAS, said: “In an increasingly challenging financial environment, like any organisation, we do need to look at how efficiencies can be made.

“Our priority is and will always be patient care. However, we have a responsibility to the tax payer to ensure their money is spent appropriately.”

He said the ‘reductions in operational establishments’ will achieve savings by deploying vehicles in a more ‘dynamic way’, adding: “It’s very rare that ambulances are at stations waiting to be assigned to an incident.”

Comments (3)

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11:34am Tue 6 May 14

mavrick says...

The Ambulance services can't manage the workload now. It seems another pen pushing accountant is destroying a vital part of the NHS under the guise of efficiency savings. Perhaps a few less chiefs would be of great help. The Ambulance service could quite easily be operated by a hospital. A new way of thinking is needed not budget cuts, It is our service and we want it. yes we know it cost's money but we are prepared to pay a bit more tax for it. we need to weed out poor management to make real savings.
The Ambulance services can't manage the workload now. It seems another pen pushing accountant is destroying a vital part of the NHS under the guise of efficiency savings. Perhaps a few less chiefs would be of great help. The Ambulance service could quite easily be operated by a hospital. A new way of thinking is needed not budget cuts, It is our service and we want it. yes we know it cost's money but we are prepared to pay a bit more tax for it. we need to weed out poor management to make real savings. mavrick
  • Score: 4

12:20pm Tue 6 May 14

BRFC195 says...

The ambulance service so often picks up work other agencies should deal with as well as the police also having to do this yet it's theses services which always suffer most with cuts when they are left to pick up other agency dirty work ...I hope they don't put anymore stress on the already streached emergency services as simply the only cost will be lives
The ambulance service so often picks up work other agencies should deal with as well as the police also having to do this yet it's theses services which always suffer most with cuts when they are left to pick up other agency dirty work ...I hope they don't put anymore stress on the already streached emergency services as simply the only cost will be lives BRFC195
  • Score: 2

2:55pm Tue 6 May 14

laughing boy says...

Less than one percent of frontline ambulance staff live to retirement age, so what do the management do? They raise our pension age. Staff had their pay frozen for years so kindly we got given a one percent cost of living pay rise, mp's however get an 11percent rise. We have our workload constantly added too and now our level of available resourses plan to be slashed! Is someone just testing us ambulance staff just to see how much we can take before breaking???
Less than one percent of frontline ambulance staff live to retirement age, so what do the management do? They raise our pension age. Staff had their pay frozen for years so kindly we got given a one percent cost of living pay rise, mp's however get an 11percent rise. We have our workload constantly added too and now our level of available resourses plan to be slashed! Is someone just testing us ambulance staff just to see how much we can take before breaking??? laughing boy
  • Score: 2

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