Demands on ambulance staff 'unacceptable', warns Unison

PUBLISHED: 18:41 21 April 2015 | UPDATED: 18:41 21 April 2015


LONG hours and difficult shift patterns are leaving paramedics stressed, according to a survey by Unison, which says standards have become 'unacceptable'.

South West Ambulance Service (SWASFT) covers large parts of the region, including North Somerset, and promises to support staff as much as possible.

In areas such as shift patterns, mental demands and target culture, the South West performed worse than the national average. However in terms of abuse and bullying, figures were above average.

A Unison South West spokesman said: “The pressure on ambulance staff is reaching dangerously high levels. It is unacceptable the system doesn’t allow for proper breaks between shifts.”

SWASFT chief executive, Ken Wenman, replied: “We recognise the severe pressure that has been facing clinical staff as a result of increasing demands on our service.

“This is why SWASFT developed an initiative to better manage patient demand before deploying resources unnecessarily – dispatch on disposition.”

A SWASFT spokesman said the organisation runs three health and wellbeing forums to ensure staff are looked after as much as possible.

About 400 ambulance staff based in the South West responded to Unison’s survey. Nationally, 20,000 people were given the survey, with the response rate at 14 per cent.

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