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    Emergency Care Assistants are often (wrongly in my opinion) referred to as ambulance drivers. Now the ambulance driver must hold a C1 LGV licence and drive a large overweight vehicle designed as a van and converted in to an ambulance post-production. They must drive this vehicle under emergency conditions, driving with blue lights and sirens which is incredibly intensive (not easy as the public might think!) and at the same time carrying the burden of the risk to their life, their crew mate's life and other road users. They also have a heavily increased liability and legal accountability when claiming exemptions. Some of these staff drive under these conditions for a full 12 hour shift.

    On arrival at scene they can be confronted with the same as any other member of the front line crew. An active child birth, a deceased person, a completed suicide, a dying or deceased baby, a full resuscitation effort, an elderly person who has been persistently neglected and living in squalor for month or years. They must try to rationalise this, but we never forget these incidents. They are simply locked away in the back of our minds. We don't know when that box could become too full and burst open. When it does, we have lost 25% of our sick pay. This isn't a tickly cough we are talking about.

    They are paid from NHS Band 3: £16271 / £8.34 per hour


    All the same responsibilities as the Emergency Care Assistant plus...

    These staff are often the lead clinician on the front line ambulance. They carry a comprehensive range of drugs and are expected to administer these based on their own clinical knowledge and judgment. These drugs when wrongly administered could kill the patient. The EMT must have a vast level of knowledge of the human body, disease processes, medical conditions and drug actions and interactions in order to practice safely. They will make decisions on a range of complicated conditions when a patient asks whether they need to go to hospital or not.

    They are paid from NHS Band 4: £18,838 / £9.66 per hour


    All the same responsibilities as Emergency Care Assistants and Emergency Medical Technicians plus...

    They are legally required to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, at a hefty cost which has to be paid to be allowed to practice on an annual basis. In order to retain professional registration, a Paramedic must demonstrate personal continued professional development by completing and documenting a vast amount of reading and additional training courses. These are completed at their own expense and usually in their own time. Courses can cost a huge amount of money with no upper limit really.

    If an error is made in clinical judgement, or simply if the abusive drunk person who just assaulted the Paramedic decides to complain about the Paramedic's "bad attitude" following the attack, the Paramedic could find themselves in front of the HCPC defending their registration at any time. This isn't a complaint as it protects the public and the profession, but it is a threat when a human error is made.

    Paramedics must now be educated at university in order to be eligible to register as a Paramedic.

    They are paid from NHS Band 5: £21,388 / £10.97 per hour.

    Together we usually work as a team as a combination of the two above professionals. We have to see things you never should see. We have to breath in germs and bugs from chest infections, gastroenteritis caused diarrhoea and vomit, handle blood, urine, faeces and sweat, etc.

    We must view and attempt to rationalise horrific sights such as death, suffering, sexual and physical abuse of adults and children alike.

    This article isn't an argument about what we are paid for our role, it is about having to defend ourselves from proposals that will see us have 25% of our wages taken off us if heaven forbid we come down ill with a medical, traumatic or mental health illness, which we are significant predisposed to by every single one of our 10+ patients per shift!!

    On top of that we are facing being told:

    "You must take your break here, although you are miles from your base station. This time is your own 30 or 45 minutes (depending on work region) to get some food and something to drink and to escape your work environment because you are not being paid. Although you are not allowed to take food with you because this is against infection control policies, so buy food from wherever we put you on break. There's sure to be a fish and chip shop or maybe a newsagent which sells pasties and pies. Maybe a salad if you're lucky and health conscious. You can't go too far though because you're in an ambulance, just keep that in mind."

    Hopefully, whilst we respect your plight in your profession as a fork lift truck operator, it isn't an "us and them" comparison. We believe we are being unfairly treated and wish to speak out to make the public aware. If you don't get breaks and you aren't receiving a pay rise for that long despite inflation, please get together with your colleagues and speak out!

    If you don't, please don't expect others to respect your comment that we should, in effect, put up with it and shut up.

    Or maybe we should? After all is said and done, I guess we are just "ambulance drivers".


    An NHS Paramedic"
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Ambulance staff morale ‘in freefall’ over wages

Evesham Journal: IN THE LINE OF DUTY: An ambulanceman ferries patient in need of oxygen to hospital. IN THE LINE OF DUTY: An ambulanceman ferries patient in need of oxygen to hospital.

AMBULANCE staff feel “downtrodden and bullied” and are “treated with no respect” by their bosses, a paramedic has claimed.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service worker said morale was in freefall due to disputes over a threat to sick pay and changes to working conditions.

Nationally, ambulance service employers and unions are locked in discussions over proposed pay changes that would result in an additional “anti-social hours” payment for working nights and weekends being cut from sick pay.

Staff are also up in arms about proposals from West Midlands Ambulance Service that would see bosses dictate where they have to take their unpaid meal breaks.One employee, who has asked to remain anonymous, told your Worcester News that the rows are taking their toll on staff.

“Ambulance staff feel undervalued and morale is incredibly low,” our source said. “Deductions could cut sick pay by 25 per cent. We do have a higher incidence of sickness than other workers, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as we come into contact with sick people many times every shift. And we encounter manual handling challenges that most people couldn’t even dream of and our job can be extremely stressful.”

Workers also say it is “unreasonable” for bosses to dictate where the single, unpaid 30-minute break they get in a 12-hour shift may be taken.

“I get that break at my base station, the same place as I start and finish,” an employee said.” I have hot food that I prepare at home, take to work and store in a fridge. This ensures I get a decent meal. Now our management want to tell us where to take our break. This could be at another station, a stand-by point or at a hospital.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman Suzie Fothergill insisted bosses do value the efforts of staff.

She said sick pay had not been altered and that ongoing negotiations are a national matter and out of the trust’s hands.0 She added that discussions about meal breaks are ongoing and that “no changes have been made at present.

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