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Media Statement: The Role of Emergency Care Assistants (ECAs)

13 June 2014

David Whiting, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:

“Patients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do and our absolute focus is to ensure that we continue to deliver a safe, responsive and high quality service to our patients.

“Developments to the Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) role formed part of a wider package which was discussed with Unison earlier this week and although they felt unable to agree to the changes as a whole, they did indicate that they were satisfied with this element of the proposal.  

“ECAs are operating well within their capability following their training and this development is also consistent with how other ambulance services operate across the country.  We will be using our ECAs more flexibly to transport patients who do not require monitoring or treatment. They can also perform a valuable role as a first responder on scene with a defibrillator, much like our volunteer community first responders.

“As the primary role of the ECA is to work in a clinical support capacity alongside a fully-trained clinician, there will be very few occasions where they will be required to fulfil this additional element of their role.

“Along with many of our staff, we feel this is a positive move which allows us to fully utilise the skills of our ECAs and further improve the responsiveness of our service and the care we provide to patients. It also provides an opportunity for these staff to progress. 

“It is disappointing that Unison has been unable to fully support us on this development, but we are committed to finding ways in which we can make things better for both our patients and our workforce and we will continue to work with our staff to do this.”

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department