From the TUC

Paramedics are not feeling the benefit of the economy ‘picking up’

05 Jun 2014, By

There are lots of reasons to be unhappy with the Secretary of State’s decision not to give a fair pay rise to NHS staff this year, but it’s the unfairness which really grates.  We are told that the economy is picking up – but for the fourth year in a row our pay is being frozen. We are told that the current pay restraint is to save jobs – yet swathes of posts disappeared from the NHS last year. We are told that the government can’t afford a measly 1% increase to hourly rates at the same time that we hear about tax breaks and subsidies available to other groups – not least the 11% proposed increase to MPs own wages. Our own colleagues in Scotland received the amount recommended by the 1% which mean they now earn more each hour than those of us working south of Hadrian’s Wall.

Changing shifts, new roles and consolidation of stations into ‘super-hubs’ have all meant that ambulance staff have had to adapt to a range of new ways of working over the last few years.  Many of our trusts have also taken on provision of the new 111 phone triage system. This constant churn of change, plus the pressure of coping with increasing violence from members of the public and the much publicised shortages and backlogs at A&E, all adds up to a recipe for growing discontent. And this is at a time when 999 staff are already aggrieved at the Government’s decision to make them work until they are nearly seventy.

No wonder we have high numbers of ambulance staff looking to take early retirement.

If we want to hang on to experienced 999 staff, we need to make sure they are well rewarded – so they can spend time worrying about their patients and not feeling angry about their pay.

We’re worth more than the kick in the teeth Hunt has dished out.  Four years of frozen pay – with no commitment to a catch-up anytime soon – is unfair.  This is why my colleagues and I working in emergency services support the campaign for Fair Pay for NHS staff.

Visit the All Together for the NHS website to follow everything that’s happening on today’s NHS Day of Action.

5 Responses to Paramedics are not feeling the benefit of the economy ‘picking up’

  1. richard collin
    Jun 9th 2014, 1:57 pm

    this is exactly why i am taking early retirement

    this is so accurate and true in my personal experience why the ambulance service is in such a mess and moral is so low

  2. Dale Ricketts
    Jun 9th 2014, 10:38 pm

    Paramedics in Australia earn nearly double what we earn which demonstrates the high regard that their government and public have for the work that they do. They have an understanding of what the job involves. I feel that The blinkered government in our country have no idea what our job actually entails, and the qualifications that we need to get there. This is echoed by many members of the public who are surprised when we try and refer them to an alternative pathway or analyse an ECG, expecting the nice ambulance driver to simply take them to hospital. Education of those in high places and members of the public has to be a priority or they will never grasp the role that we undertake. The governments freeze on pay, which is already viewed as low when skills, responsibility and equivalent roles abroad are taken into account is nothing short of insulting. I’m not asking for double wages like in Australia. Neither am I asking for a medal, or even an occasional ‘thank you’. I just want to be paid fairly for the lengths I go to each day above and beyond the call of duty, for the hard work I put in to get where I am today and for the ever increasing skills and knowledge base that I have. Surely that is not too much to ask?

  3. Chris Wright
    Jun 10th 2014, 6:31 pm

    I have worked for YAS for eleven years and progressed from PCA to Paramedic. A role I am proud to perform for my patients.
    However I am becoming increasing disillusioned with:
    Repeated and on going pay freezes which equate to approx. 20% pay erosion in five years.
    More skills and clinical responsibility year on year with no pay increase.
    Personal responsibility for CPD and training whilst refusing to honour the up to six training days/year that Nurses enjoy under the A4C.
    Never getting a Vehicle check.
    Always standing down hours outside our meal window.
    Between 10-15hrs/month of enforced end of shift overtime. I know we get overtime unlike nurses and the police but at the levels we endure it’s cold comfort!
    Working more unsocial hours than ever, again, with no reward.
    The trust now want us to take control of drug stocks on station according to a recent operational update. Whose job is that taking?
    Ever more targets for on scene times and turnarounds at hospital with threats of performance management for non compliance.
    The above coincide with threats to shut stations and forcibly displace staff.
    Enough is enough, we need to stand together and fight for our pay and conditions before they are eroded even further!
    If we don’t we will continue to see the loss of experienced staff to the detriment of the service and patients both.

  4. mark harrison
    Jun 11th 2014, 7:40 pm

    SO WHAT YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT THEN ?

  5. stewart maxwell
    Jun 19th 2014, 12:36 pm

    With respect, Mark Harrison, it’s not about ‘wot’ one individual or union person is going to do about it, we all have to remain together and be prepared to take some kind of industrial action, if push comes to shove. sadly these days, we rarely remain united, as has been demonstrated by the bickering between trade unions.