Ambulance staff have declared a vote of no confidence in their chief executive after claiming that planned changes will lead to a “serious risk to patients”.

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Cost-cutting, a reduction of emergency vehicles and staffing levels have been cited as reasons behind the dramatic move by members of the GMB union.

Members have written to the chair of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) expressing no confidence in Hayden Newton, claiming he is “pushing changes in rosters and for less staff and vehicles which runs the serious risk to patients”.

But the trust said bosses were in talks with their “recognised union” Unison over planned changes to rotas, which are aimed at ensuring staff levels better meet demand.

Tony Hughes, GMB organiser for staff at EEAST, said: “GMB members have recently written to the chair of the East of England Ambulance Service Trust expressing a vote of no confidence in Hayden Newton as the chief executive of the ambulance service.

“Over the past few weeks, GMB members have been informed by management that they wish to change their rotas – with the reason given that this will improve patient outcomes.

“At this point, from the information that has been provided to the GMB, we can see no benefits to patients.

“It seems clear that the motivation is to cut costs, as in many areas there is a reduction to vehicles and staffing levels.

“As the figures show, the trust is just about meeting the eight-minute target and not meeting the 19-minute target for category A calls.”

Mr Hughes added: “Due to the nature and method of consultation, this has been delivered as a ‘fait accompli’ and as far as I can see this will do nothing to improve patient outcomes and has the potential to actually make matters worse.

“At this stage, I do not believe the chief executive has the support of the staff and is able to lead the trust in a manner that will provide the best service to the people our members serve.”

An ambulance spokesman said: “The trust has been in discussion with its recognised union – Unison – on the matter of rota redesign, which is about making sure the trust has staff and vehicles on duty when patients need them.

“For example, in most places we currently have as many staff on duty on Wednesday afternoons as we have on Friday night.

“Given that demand for ambulance services is much higher on Friday nights, this cannot be right and this is what we are seeking to address.

“Following an extensive engagement programme with staff, the trust is also discussing its plans to improve patient care with other stakeholders and will now of course, as part of this, be responding to the GMB.

“Eighty-four members of staff, out of a workforce of 4,000, have raised these concerns but the trust must change its rotas so patients get the response when they need it.”

8 comments

  • What a child like way to avoid the consequences of your actions..We are not talking to you ..Another medical person used this technique..Dr Harold Shipman. When interviewed, he sat with his back to those trying to interview him.

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    el84

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

  • Maybe BG the vote of no confidence is also to do with the cuts to the ambulance service taking away 9 ambulances? Or do you support that? Let's hope Hayden Newton overturns the cuts at North Walsham.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

  • As soon as anyone mentions changes to duty rotas its like lighting the blue touch paper. Staff like 12 hour shifts so that they can minimise the need for child cover and of course it affords them plenty of time off for a second job. Employers interfere with that sort of arrangement at their peril. They will soon have the unions up in arms.

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    BG

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

  • Hayden Newton has consistently failed to meet targets for response times. It is now obvious that Staff have no confidence in his leadership. How much more evidence do the trust need before he is shown the door?

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    Farquarson-Smythe

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

  • Rolfe Do the sums. If you are averaging a 40 hour week and work 12 hour shifts with leave and bank holidays you only work 5 months a year. That`s 7 off. How can you not have more time to yourself than someone working an 8 hour shift?

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    BG

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

  • I spoke to Hayden Newton last week whilst info gathering for my Broken Paramedic blog and an article I was writing for the Mail on Sunday. When I asked him if he felt that the already overstretched staff would be able to cope with the new proposals, he said "I think we need to have that debate when we get the resources at the right times." He didn't give me much confidence that he thought that there might be a problem with staff fatigue or patient care. He had a point though - no one can really argue about how inefficient the current system is.

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    Mathew Westhorpe

    Monday, October 1, 2012

  • @BG. Get a life mate. Frontline Ambulance Staff don't have time for a "second job". Even if they did, they would be too knackered to do it. The Ambulance Service must be the only employer that runs it's staff into the ground for eleven and a half hours without a break (we do get thirty minutes in a twelve hour shift). Try it yourself.

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    Rolf

    Saturday, September 29, 2012

  • omnishambles - no one in their right mind can support the cuts. But if they are so knackered doing 12 hour shiftsthen they should bring pressure to only do 8 hours instead. This would then mean 75 percent of the workforce would be available to work not the 50 percent under the 12 hour shift pattern which is a very inefficient way of working.

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    BG

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

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