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Ambulance Service Chief Reminds Public to Use Service Wisely During Strike Action

14 February 2014

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) has taken steps to protect its services throughout the periods of planned strike action by members of Unite the Union, but bosses are still urging the general public to use the emergency service wisely.
Unite the Union represents around 7% of Yorkshire Ambulance Service staff and, although recent industrial action involved less than 2% of the Trust’s workforce, the strikes between 3.00pm and 8.00pm today (Friday 14 February) and Monday 17 February 2014 will, once again, take place without any concessions from Unite for the most seriously ill and injured patients.

David Whiting, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “Our plans to maintain high standards of patient care and minimise any impact from previous episodes of strike action were effective and we have taken steps to ensure our service remains just as resilient this time.
“We would like to reassure members of the public that our contingency plans continue to focus on providing a safe, responsive and high-quality emergency service which remains the Trust’s top priority.
“We would appreciate the co-operation of the general public and would, once again, like to remind people to use our services wisely.  Please only call 999 for an ambulance when someone has a life-threatening or serious illness or injury.  Anyone requiring advice or treatment for a non-emergency situation or minor ailment should consider options such as self-care, a visit to a local pharmacist, contacting the NHS 111 urgent care service or their GP, visiting a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit.”
To find your nearest non-emergency service, visit http://www.nhs.uk/service-search or call 111.


Notes to Editor: 

1.   Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust 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.  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.
2.   Unite the Union members represent a very small percentage of YAS staff (around 7%) and recent industrial action saw less than 2% of the Trust’s workforce join the strike. However, Unite the Union has continued to release factually inaccurate and potentially defamatory information about changes the Trust is making to its A&E Operations.
3.   Senior management representatives at the Trust continue to have open dialogue with ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). The latest talks with ACAS on 30 January 2014 were instigated by the Trust and followed the normal conciliation process.  As part of this, Yorkshire Ambulance Service made an offer of further talks with Unite the Union which was rejected.
4.   The Trust is wholly committed to engaging with and involving its staff in matters that affect them and our patients.
5.   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. 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