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Region’s Ambulance Service Reassures Public Ahead of Industrial Action

06 June 2013

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust would like to reassure members of the public that they are committed to minimising the level of disruption to services during the industrial action called by Unite the Union on Friday 7 June 2013.

The 12-hour strike, which will start at 12.00 midday, is the second time the union has carried out industrial action this year and is expected to involve less than 10 per cent of the total staff employed by the Trust.  
David Whiting, Chief Executive of the Trust, is keen to assure people in Yorkshire that again they will have contingency plans in place during this period of action and will continue to make every effort to get to patients as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining high standards of patient care.

He said: “Our contingency plans are focused on providing a safe, responsive and high-quality emergency service to patients and this will always remain our top priority.

“I would like to reiterate that I remain deeply concerned over this type of action, which I know is of concern to all of our A&E staff, who are very committed to patient care, and will place many of them in a very difficult situation.

“We recognise the legal right for those of our staff who are members of the union to participate in industrial action, but our focus is to balance that right with the need to first safeguard patient care and safety. However, I do not believe that industrial action in this form is in the best interests of patients, and it is deeply concerning for a trade union representing ambulance service workers to strike without making any concessions to patient safety.

“Throughout the 12-hour period of the strike, and the continuous overtime ban that Unite the Union commenced on 26 March 2013, our focus will be on taking steps to maintain operational cover to sustain effective and safe services for patients calling upon us for assistance.”

This action will undoubtedly place strain on our 999 service, and therefore the Trust is reminding the public to use the service wisely and asks people to only call 999 for an ambulance in an emergency when it is obvious that someone has a life-threatening or serious illness or injury.  Anyone requiring advice or treatment for a non-emergency situation or minor ailment considers options such as self-care, a visit to a local pharmacist, GP surgery or walk-in centre.

Notes to Editor: 

1. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has formally advised Unite the Union that, with effect from 4 February 2013, it has decided to cease to voluntarily recognise Unite the Union for the purposes of collective bargaining, ie negotiations on behalf of their members. 

2. The Trust remains committed to working in partnership with UNISON, which is not affected by the decision to derecognise Unite the Union, and to the principles of effective consultation and negotiation.   

3. Recognition of Unite the Union has been on a voluntary basis, not a statutory one.  Consequently the Trust is able to determine to no longer recognise Unite the Union on a voluntary basis.

4. Senior management representatives at the Trust continue to have open dialogue with ACAS.

5. The Trust is wholly committed to engaging with and involving its staff in matters that affect them and our patients.

6. UNISON is the largest trade union within the Trust and represents the majority of our employees. It is Britain and Europe's largest public sector union.

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department