Ambulance Watch: 999 staff consulted over potential job losses to fund front-line investment

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bra

Ambulances parked up outside A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

Back office and support staff at the region's under-fire ambulance service have been told that their jobs are at risk under proposals to divert an extra £20m from its budget to front-line resources.

Consultations have begun with staff over a proposed restructure at the East of England Ambulance Service as bosses attempt to turnaround its performance.

A voluntary redundancy scheme will open at the NHS trust from next week and staff have been warned that compulsory redundancies could begin from November.

Officials from the ambulance service yesterday declined to say how many jobs could be lost under the 'transformational programme'. However, no front-line jobs are at risk.

Consultations with East of England Ambulance Service workers began on Wednesday, which involves staff working in departments including communications and engagement, human resources, training, operations performance, business development, clinical audit, commercial services, procurement, and the fleet and estates team. The news comes after the trust announced earlier this month that it was streamlining its board of directors from six to four.

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A spokesman said the ambulance service was planning to direct more funding to the front-line so it can put more double staffed ambulances on the roads.

'Staff are now in the process of being briefed on proposed changes to team structures which will allow the trust to reinvest £20m into ambulances and staffing with the aim to improve response times and patient care. We're in the very early stages of this, and are following the normal protocol of a full consultation. The way that the front-line works also needs to change so it can be more efficient and effective.'

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