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Unite the Union

23 September 2013

Further to Unite the Union’s latest call for its members to demonstrate at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24 September 2013, the Trust is keen to reiterate its position in key areas.

Patient Care and Safety
The changes that Yorkshire Ambulance Service are making will further improve the quality and safety of the services we provide.  We are committed to continuing to provide responsive and high-quality care to people in Yorkshire and patient care and safety remain our highest priority.

A&E Staffing Profile
The Trust’s A&E Workforce Plan for the next five years mainly focuses upon significantly increasing the number of qualified paramedics and retaining our tier of paramedics with additional clinical skills. During this period there will be a broad range of fully-funded training opportunities for 450 staff to become paramedics, with the ultimate aim of having a paramedic on every frontline emergency vehicle.  This plan underpins our commitment to further improving quality and safety at the Trust.

In addition, the Trust has introduced emergency care assistants (ECAs) to work alongside paramedics on ambulances. The ECA is a well-established role used in the majority of other ambulance services to deliver an appropriate level of clinical support to their paramedic colleagues. They have received the required level of training to carry out this role, including emergency ‘blue light’ response driving.

The Trust’s plans were developed following extensive consultation and negotiation with staff and unions.

De-recognition of Unite the Union
Due to a difficult and disappointing working relationship with Unite the Union over a prolonged period of time, a decision was taken by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust earlier this year to cease voluntary recognition of the union for the purposes of collective bargaining.  The Trust did not receive a constructive contribution to the difficult decisions that it has been required to make for the future, particularly as it sought to maintain high quality care for patients against the realities of the tough economic climate.

Through Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), senior representatives from the Trust have continued to seek on-going dialogue with Unite the Union.


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. The Trust is wholly committed to engaging with and involving its staff in matters that affect them and our patients.
5. 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.
6. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust covers almost 6,000 square miles of varied terrain from isolated moors and dales to urban areas, coastline and inner cities and provides 24-hour emergency and healthcare services to a population of more than five million people. The organisation receives an average of 2,180 emergency and urgent calls per day and employs over 4,600 staff.

Issued by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Press Office


Produced By: Corporate Communications Department