'Expanded' ambulance service for Weston

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 October 2010

Emergency Ambulance services.

Emergency Ambulance services.

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NORTH Somerset's ambulance service is set to roll out a series of changes aimed at 'expanding' the service in the Weston area next month.

But some of the changes have met with opposition from members of staff who feel their concerns have not been heeded in the consultation period.

A new 24-hour response unit is set to be introduced in Weston, with one service moving back to its nominal base in Nailsea after operating in the town recently.

Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) is set to take on 81 new frontline staff as part of the changes, which are due to start on November 1.

Shift patterns have been significantly changed to cover peak times more effectively, but staff have complained that the times will be disruptive to their family life as well as being too long.

A paramedic who did not wish to be named said: “The two shift patterns are ridiculous, especially the evening one, where you could quite easily be on duty until 9am the next morning.

“We spoke to (Weston MP) John Penrose about these when they were announced originally, but it just looks like they’ve completely ignored our concerns.”

A spokesman for GWAS said: “We’ve done a very detailed look at every 999 call we’ve received and we’re looking at the times when patients are calling us to make sure we’ve got the right amount of crews there at the right times. That means at certain times having more crews on than at other times.

“This involves working with staff to work out different shift times and patterns.

“Changes like this are bound to be disruptive to members of staff so we’re looking wherever we can to work with them and see what their suggestions are.

“No staff are being asked to work longer hours or for less pay. These changes are going to expand the ambulance service in the area.”

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