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Ambulance trusts forced to use unqualified staff as Govt ignores crisis warnings

11 Nov 2021
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GMB Union’s warnings of an ‘utterly unprecedented crisis' have been ignored by the Government as trusts are forced to enlist unqualified staff to help. 

Last month the union wrote to Secretary of State, Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee, raising ‘serious concerns regarding the untenable workplace pressures that our members are facing in the ambulance service’. [2] 

GMB has received no reply. 

Reports this morning suggest lives are at risk because average waits for emergency callouts for problems such as heart attacks and strokes are taking more than twice as long as they should.

GMB members in ambulance crews have raised concerns about working with unqualified staff  - but have been told they have to put up with it. 

Meanwhile, ambulance workers describe ‘the worst service pressures they have ever experienced – worse than any previous winter’. 

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: 

“GMB ambulance workers warned the Government this winter looked likely to be the worst crisis the NHS has faced.  

“With grim predictability, Ministers completely ignored the voices of those on the front line. 

“Now the chickens are coming home to roost – lives are at risk due to waiting times, staff are at breaking point and trusts are so desperate they are bringing unqualified workers. 

“And it’s only November, 

“Unless rapid and serious action is taken, the winter crisis could become a catastrophe.” 

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