Ambulance union to ballot members on action over broken pay pledges

Today junior doctors have strikes over mounting tensions over contracts which will stretch them further. The government have marketed a 7 day NHS but at the moment, doctors already work 7 days a week providing emergency care. Unless there is investment in more doctors quality will fall and patients could be placed at risk and staff exhausted.


The ambulance services is already crippled and failing to meet response times across the country. Some trusts are squeezing staff to breaking point, those who have put their staff first by fixing meal breaks irrespective of call volumes are managing to keep people more safe, however increasingly paramedics are taking up jobs which would normally be carried out by doctors or nurses. Some are taking GP appointments yet are paid a fraction of a GP salary.


Is it time that paramedics are recognised for the skills they now have, they are no longer taxi drivers or first aiders, but health care professionals with the training and ability to deal with both minor injuries and illnesses and emergency medicine. How many A&E doctors would be expected to run a advanced life support cardiac arrest on there own?


Today, according to the Leicester Mercury, the union which represents ambulance is balloting members over broken promises in relation to a pay banding review.


In Australia only last month it was announced that Victoria paramedics were to receive a salary increase of between 12 and 28% depending on skill level (in Australia ambulance technicians are also called paramedics). This would mean some paramedics would receive an $18,000 pay rise.


When you compare London paramedics to London underground train drivers it doesn’t sit right that those who have to make life changing decisions with little support and are often working 16 hour shifts with no lunch break, are paid a fraction of the price. I think the government need to consider carefully how they plan to move forwards with emergency medicine both in and out of hospital. Demand is up, and inappropriate calls to the ambulance service is also on the rise. Would it not be a good idea to consider a fee for emergency care to reduce the amount of abuse and add funds for more paramedics and doctors?

Dave Hawkins