News

09.12.15

Rate of paramedics leaving ambulance service nearly doubles

More than 1,000 paramedics left the ambulance service between April 2014 and March 2015, compared to just 566 between 2010 and 2011.

The accelerating trend of leavers is reinforced by a survey just released by the GMB, Unison and Unite unions, in which three-quarters of paramedics and other ambulance staff said they were planning to quit the NHS.

The unions say this could trigger an ambulance crisis in the NHS, especially with “dangerous” vacancies in paramedic jobs forcing staff to shoulder more responsibility in the field and in the 999 phone service.

They survey questioned more than 3,200 paramedics, of the more than 20,000 ambulance staff represented by the three unions.

Topping the survey’s findings were warnings that inadequate pay and poor working conditions in the field are to blame for the low morale amongst paramedics and their desire to leave.

But the survey indicated that almost three-quarters of remaining staff are considering leaving the health service, with a whopping 94% claiming their pay does not adequately reflect their responsibilities. Currently, the paramedic starting salary is just short of £22,000 annually, growing to £28,000 after seven years.

And in a perfect storm of 10% vacancy rate and paramedic exodus, employers are having to look abroad for more employees.

 “Hardworking ambulance staff and paramedics are voting with their feet and leaving the service. Their pay and conditions don’t reflect the strenuous demands of the job,” Unite’s head of health, Barrie Brown, said.

“The London ambulance service is already in special measures and spending thousands of pounds recruiting paramedics from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.”

Just today, the North East Ambulance Service NHS FT also raised its operational status to ‘severe pressure’, meaning that while it will attempt to deliver a normal service, its response standard to potentially life-threatening calls has deteriorated.

Although many employees get a shift premium for working anti-social hours, respondents said these bonuses did not reflect their skills and responsibilities.

Unison’s head of health, Christina McAnea, said: “Paramedics are doing more than ever, and being asked to deal with a growing range of medical emergencies. But these skills and responsibilities haven’t been recognised by employers or the government.

“Ambulance trusts say they haven’t got the cash, but the offer last January was from Jeremy Hunt and so trade unions will be calling on him to make sure the government keeps their side of the agreement.”

According to the three unions, the government must fund a “much-needed” recruitment and retention bonus, as well as review existing salaries or risk driving staff away.

Its leaders will be outlining this at an oral evidence sessions with the NHS Pay Review Body next week, on 15 December.

McAnea continued: “With the background of NHS cuts and recent threat of industrial action by junior doctors, it’s essential the government doesn’t mislead staff over their promises – or there could be industrial action in the ambulance service.

“The NHS will rely on its ambulance services as A&E units struggle to cope with winter pressures. If the government doesn’t take action, then this crisis could turn into a catastrophe.”

Comments

Ian   09/12/2015 at 16:25

A classic case of "the beatings will continue until morale improves"

Charlie   09/12/2015 at 16:56

Yes... But the real question is 'what are they leaving to do instead?' If they're going into other parts of the NHS then they're not 'lost', they're reaping the benefits of paramedic practice becoming a genuine route of progression.

Steve Hill   09/12/2015 at 18:13

I left NEAS after 20+ years- best thing I've ever done!. My career in the UK had become a shambles, a sad parody of the job I started. My work/ life balance was non- existent constant late finishes regularly being shafted by control and replaying the compliment by " engineneering" an on- time finish every chance I could. Sickness was rampant, vehicles sheds, morale gone.Thank god I left!.

Gail   09/12/2015 at 18:16

Their leaving due to being under paid and over worked and more so being treated like a piece of dirt by not only the patients we care for but also the people they work for. Management does not fight ur cone if anything, in this job your guilty until proved innocent. Not incentives until proven guilty. .

Amanda   09/12/2015 at 18:45

I left as a single parent after 15 years to a job that would provide the same salary, Monday to Friday all bank holiday's off Christmas and new year off..private medical...It was however a difficult decision as the job become your 'family'..bit after 2 failed relationships (caused by the job) and a daughter who needed her mum, enough was enough..They are simply letting good paramedics walk..In 1 month including myself I saw 5 paramedics leave..burnt out fed up and under valued..nothing was put into place to dissuade people from walking..It is deeply upsetting seeing our emergency service falling apart..I hope that the situation improves for those who are staying.

Sean Freyne   09/12/2015 at 18:45

I left NWAS (North west ambulance service) after 20 years + and never did I for one minute expect to do so, the job has changed so much that it is almost unrecognisable, used to be run and managed by clinical staff, more efficient, and at least management understood concerns and complaints as they had done the job themselves, it's run as a business these days, targets and performance which I totally understand, but the foundations of being a Paramedic and what responsibility is required by the Paramedics and Techs is not a concern for management and is not addressed at all and appears irrelevant, I have never been treated in such a disgusting manor by the modern day management, their heads are in the clouds and have unrealistic views, they ain't gotta bloody clue what goes on when on the road and what pre hospital Clinicians have to deal with, no stand down time, no time to check equipment and ensure adequate drugs and equipment is present, in date or in working order, I was unfortunate to be on the receiving end of a complaint from a third party who was not even on scene and despite my patient report findings, my version of events and evidence documented, I still found myself being treated as guilty until proven not guilty, for 18 months I was made to wait for the investigation by management to be completed only to be told there was no charges to answer and that was that, no apology, no one from management said sorry for insisting I must have been guilty as the third party said so..... Well thank you modern day management I thought, and if this is the way you treat your hard working, deicatated, under paid, under appreciated staff, there is no way that I will stay and be treated in this manor, they left me with no alternative but to leave

Barry Stephenson   09/12/2015 at 18:50

Long hours no meal breaks not finishing on time put under a lot of pressure then you get sickness and mistakes then who takes the blame no wonder people are leaving someone at the top needs to wake up

Peedoff   09/12/2015 at 19:02

Not to mention the constant changing of unworkable, non family friendly rotas, bullying management running a dictatorship

Charlie   09/12/2015 at 19:14

Management don't care. They are only interested if there is a problem which they think is the staffs fault. The staff are not appreciated for there efforts and are guilty until proved innocent. The time it takes to reach the top of there band scale is a joke (it amounts to cheap labour). Late over runs can mean working for up to 16-17hr shifts. The only positive is it can be a rewarding job to be able to help people when they need it most.

Shaun   09/12/2015 at 19:17

I left 6months ago, lack of opportunity for career progression and run by 'bean counters' and friends of friends. Many have already covered the salient points and it's dangerous very dangerous but agreed that there is no support if you get it wrong. The hours are bad for your health and your family life. I love being a paramedic and cry proud after 12 years on the road to say so-afraid it's not like that now. I was not asked why I left and neither where the 10other clinicians who resigned that week. Who's going to ask the question why? Tragedy for such an essential part of the health system, concerns me though what will happen when/if I need assistance.

Si   09/12/2015 at 19:30

Late again as usual, typing this as my crew mate drives back to stn but the management don't care we r just numbers/bums on seats driving about in clapped out wagons that would fail an mot test and be condemned... that's not important public perception is!! not that we r all human and have families and lives of our own of course we don't. .... not all the public see us this way and that helps a little but not much. Don't mind being late for a real job but even that is rare now 😕

C   09/12/2015 at 19:33

I started the service under a veil of lies, some weekend work would be required... You mean every weekend....never seeing your family at the weekend, and when your off during the week everyone in the family is either at school or work... Management say... Tough, if you don't like it, leave.... That's how much we are appreciated. No one wants to help with the balance, of life and work, as soon as I qualify I will be gone, not going to throw my marriage and children away for anything, the management need to remove the rose tinted glasses and see the world for what it is, we work all over Christmas whilst they sit at home with their family... We are a joke to the management, feel and treated lower than whale sh#t.....

Uncorruptable   09/12/2015 at 19:41

Last year, East Midlands Ambulance Service spent £250,000 on a single solicitors firm to defend cases, mostly employment cases, against them. They use solicitors from the West Midlands and Barristers from Wales. They spent a further £150,000 paying out other solicitors firms who were awarded money for their clients. That is £400,000 in a year. EMAS management are particularly corrupt and do not care about their staff at all, hence the expenditure they shell out defending extremely bad decisions. The competency of the management is proportional to the number of staff who are leaving them. EMAS has a staffing crisis and it is getting to the point where the ECA's are longer in service than the green paramedics, and anyone with more than a year on the road is considered "experienced" and ends up on the car. Obviously it can't go on forever and this winters "winter pressures" are at real risk of seeing some of them off. It is the same story across the country with corrupt, inept managers creating a climate nobody wants to work in. People do not leave jobs. They leave managers

Doris   09/12/2015 at 20:16

What are people doing when they leave? I feel trapped as the only skills I have now are paramedic skills.

Sad Dispatcher   09/12/2015 at 20:34

My heart goes out to my crews. I ask if they are ok and I do my absolute best to look out for their welfare. But it doesn't count for much when I have to follow procedures which run them into the ground. I have ideas about how to help them but I'm afraid to speak up because i don't want to be labelled as soft or not driven enough to meeting bloody targets.

Andy   09/12/2015 at 20:45

The problem is reaching crisis point. After many years I left took my pension before the new changes came into effect lots of us are doing this. All the same problems wherever you go late finish no breaks no VDI done no equipment checks no support and poor management. Workload at breaking point new paramedics thrown in a the deep end no mentorship or support for them I truly feel for new degree paramedics the old system of working with an old hand helped you buliding your confidence now the Trust put them with a new eca and tell them to get on with it. Our CEO said at a staff meeting if your dont like it leave! Pathetic but typical as most managers have never worked on an ambulance let alone treated pts. My advice if you can get out now do so before the new changes to pensions come in. Return on the bank or go private then You can control your life/work balance. I have personally know 4 paramedics who have taken their own lives in the last 5 years truly shocking and an indication of how much pressure and stress paramedics,eca,ecps and dispatch staff are all under. To all of you out their I wish I could see hope on the horizon but my true belief is that the goverment of the day would be quite happy to open the servie to private tender like has happend to pts and that all of is will enable them to do just that. After 30 years I still love the work.....but the consequences for your physical health and mental health are severe.

Steve MS   09/12/2015 at 20:47

Sacked for refusing a red call. Had not had a meal break on time or at all in 6 months, documented at my disciplinary! EMAS shambles continues 10 years on, still the same bad press Been private since 1994, never been short or work!!

Paul   09/12/2015 at 20:53

Looking at the comments above things are not much better in the Scottish ambulance service. Under paid, late finishes (my partner thinks I'm cheating I'm late in that often) disturbed meal breaks,sometimes not even getting a meal break. The worst thing of all is attending to the public who do not need an ambulance and should have been turned away at the point of call. I've been in the service 7 years it has the potential to be the greatest job in the world but unfortunately the clowns who run it should be ashamed of themselves and the government really need to have a closer look at what's going on within the ambulance service. I am very tempted to seek a new career as this doesn't seem to be getting any better and I'm sure it will get worse now that winter is here. Oh and the new Hospital is an absolute joke........end of rant.

Swast   09/12/2015 at 21:08

I was a dispatcher for swast 10years so much change. If your face fits you move on with in the trust if your not liked u stay as a call taker. Management corrupt. 111 was just as bad. Iv gone else where in the NHS mon- Friday band 4 to a band 6 within 10months life is great I miss the people but I don't miss the work I still have nightmares now thinking about it.

Graham Herbs   09/12/2015 at 21:56

I want to become a paramedic after twenty two years as a medic in the Armed Forces. But am unable to find a route in. I cant afford to become an unpaid student again.

A   09/12/2015 at 22:04

I can echo all the above - and I've worked in 3 services before I decided I'd had enough and left. To Doris who asked where everybody is going: I now work in A&E and because the work life balance is so much better I have time and energy to do OT on the road, private. Working shoulder to shoulder with my former colleagues but this time *I* choose my hours and I get paid nearly twice their rate. Other options are health screenings - I do some on freelance basis for an insurance company - training, PIP assessments etc. Many paths and options are currently opening up for paramedics - employers are discovering our versatility. There is life outside the ambulance Trust!

Louise   09/12/2015 at 23:18

I think it's a joke that paramedics are on Band 5. The pay hasn't moved With the changing scope of the profession. We have huge responsibility and are known as the gate keepers of A&E. We are expected to use extended skills to keep people out of A&E and every time we close a wound at home or arrange antibiotics or home care we save the A&E departments/ NHS huge amounts of money. I feel we fill in the gap for GP's, out of hours services and mental health services. Often when we call these professionals for advice for a patient that is not an 999 emergency they take our assessment seriously and often determine that no visit/appointment is required as we the paramedics have already been out. We are working above and beyond band 5 and moving paramedics up would help us feel more valued within the NHS.

Jemma   09/12/2015 at 23:30

This is a question for A - Could you possibly give me further information on how you went about finding another job if you don't mind? My father is a Paramedic and he has come to the end of his tether and can't see a way out, so would love to help him find another avenue where he can be happy again. Many Thanks

Karen   09/12/2015 at 23:39

I as a nurse of 40 + years fully agree with the paramedics. I have worked in the 'golden olden days' when they were just called ambulance men when they just delivered patients to hospital. What they do nowadays is 100% more than that ! They are often traumatised from the accidents they see and Band 5 is insulting for them !

ECP   10/12/2015 at 06:13

The question most who are still in are wondering is how you get out. It is simple and less daunting than you think. Just hand your resignation in and don't look back, once you have said enough is enough you will start to realise that there are far better quality of life opportunities out there than the current repressive system you are slaving in. To Jemma, get you Dad out without delay, he'll be fine and so much better off once he takes the leap of faith to regain his life-work balance.

Tracey   10/12/2015 at 11:11

I've got 27yrs service in and all above comments are true. I'm now being shafted yet again to work even more unsocial hours! Don't know where these are going to come from as work most weekends & nights every week as it is. There is no work life balance, the bosses couldn't care less about staff & it shows. I can honestly say I'm looking at other avenues and would leave as soon as I can. Enough is enough. Devon has lost a lot of experienced paramedics over the last year with more leaving or wishing they could leave. The service is in crisis.

London Medic   10/12/2015 at 11:30

LAS is in a shambles now, our new chief exec has been left with a right mess to sort out. She is the one person that is admired and respected by all staff and hopefully will steer us in the right direction. We need to get rid of the bullying managers who can't be identified for fear of a witch hunt... Oh and we also need to put a stop to the abuse of public money being spent on a retainer for two ex members of staff who are now in Australia but still receiving several thousand pounds of taxpayers money

Usmedic   10/12/2015 at 14:02

We have the exact same problems in the states. Held over multiple hours, no breaks, running an average of 10-14 calls in a 12 hr shift with no pay raises in sight. Staffing is at a critical point and no one wants to pay for school when they start out at $12 an hour. I feel your pain

If The Public Only Knew !!   10/12/2015 at 14:26

Been in the service almost 20 years, if you think what you have read above is bad then come work for EMAS - the management team have never even been on a management course and have no idea how to manage staff, barking orders that are totally outside of policy - it is time to move on away from the continual bully boy antics within the trust and I hope the recent CQC investigation shows them for the cowboys they are - as for "qualified staff " thats a joke we have more ECA staff than actual qualified staff !!... if the public were to find out just how serious things are within EMAS they would have to declare total failure - but the trust continues to pretend all is ok...... but we all know the truth ... I just hope that patients dont die as a result of non qualified staff and lack of staff... take care out there "as you dont know just how far that ambulance is travelling to get to you" and if you did you would be scarred - I know how far im travelling and it terrifies me.... best wishes to all my fellow staff members through out the UK

Jamie   10/12/2015 at 14:52

I looked at a wage slip I had from 2011 and compared it to last months nov 2015 ... 33p an hour more I get :(

Been There - Done That...   10/12/2015 at 15:54

Left the LAS in 2001 to pursue a career in pharmaceutical sales. Immediately doubled my salary and now on a very decent income. However, I do sympathise with the guys and girls still working in the service, to the point I tried to get back in (on bank only) two years ago. To put in bluntly, even having left as a Paramedic, I was told I would have to re-qualify via the Uni system. I guess the human body has changed beyond all recognition since I left then? To be fair, there are jobs out there - the corporate world is assumed to be a cut throat and bullying environment but when compared with the LAS, it is a dream to work in.

William   10/12/2015 at 17:59

Driving to work everyday, just try to focus on blocking out the shift ahead, the chaos, the suffering, the conflict, the utter contemptible mess and con that I am about to join for the next 12-15 hours. New staff already burnt out, disillusioned planning to leave asap. One aim one ambition, get through the day without feeling anything, without being entangled in a stitch-up investigation or someone's unnecessary suffering or death, get to some form of retirement asap without major illness and where I can try to forget the Ambulance Service.

Bs   10/12/2015 at 18:15

All true. Stitched up at end of shift guaranteed. Vehicles declared unfit for purpose and still in service. No pre shift checks unless you come in early in your own time to ensure vehicle fit for use. Training almost non existent or to be done in your own time and at own expense. Dreading middle of December to end of January GP out of hours for referrals like a lucky dip depends who you get. The future does in deed look bleak

Disillusioned   11/12/2015 at 11:49

It's not just a mass exodus of paras, this includes a wide range of skill sets and I am one of them who is desperately seeking a new job. I am exhausted by the pressure. We routinely travel 250 miles per shift. Vehicles are clapped out and fully agree with the comment above that they would not pass an MOT. Disgraceful and not safe! Are we not worthy of our half hour break in a 12 hrs (often 15hrs) shift? We are all knackered - running on empty. The ambulance service is in meltdown. 111 is an absolute joke! The public are demanding and do not take responsibility for their own health any more. Fed up of pandering to pathetic chavs who expect us to pick them up when the've had too much to drink or who are in drug fuelled rages. I don't need this any more, enough is enough. Physically drained.

Emma   12/12/2015 at 15:01

Whilst this is an interesting article, it tells us nothing new. The world and their wife knows there is a national shortage of paramedics. Until there is the will to make changes the situation will only get worse. There is a simple solution. Start with treating paramedics like human beings, pay them a decent wage for the responsibility they hold and work to address the work life balance. Finally. Remember paramedics are people who are trained to deal with life threatening extreme emergencies. Not those people who call because "oh I can't get an appointment with my GP" or "we just wanted her checking over" as a paramedic I am not like a mobile health provider touting for business. I am not a substitute for your GP so do not call me to ask if you should see your GP. It is everyone's responsibility to get the message across Call An Ambulance IF YOU ARE DYING, MAY DIE TODAY, YOU ARE FACING A LIFE THREATENING or LIFE ALTERING INJURY. Let's make the changes now. Because if things continue there will be no Paramedics left.

Fedupputupon   13/12/2015 at 08:28

Fully agree with Emma. Late off always meal breaks in danger from Jeremy hunt wanting a response always irrespective of how long you have been on shift.

Anon For Obvious Reasons!   13/12/2015 at 10:55

What does the nhs expect. In london ambulance service, i saw many people binned on their paramedic courses for stupid things like the learner could not do an essay to university standsrds. For fucks sake, we need medics on the street not fucking scholars! I resigned from my london ambulance service 3 year paramedic programme 5 days from the end because i was being unfairly marked and had been singled out due to me highlighting safety concerns with ambulance braking sysyems. I was ok until the third year when my concerns were ignored so i went to the secretary of state for health. Shit hit the fan after that and they went on a witch hunt. I saw so many what would have been great paramedics binned for things that had nothing to do with their potential as paramedics. Private ambulance workers are often shafted by trust crews because there is a misconception that privates are taking their jobs. How fucking stupid is that. The pre hospital services are only just coping as it is. If all privates suddenly went overnight, the trusts would be on their knees. The shortage of paramedics is all the fault of the trusts. It is about time someone looked into why paramedics are in such short supply. It is not due to a lack of students or privates.

William   13/12/2015 at 19:15

It is a mistake and a deception, in my view, to blame the public in any part for the state of the Ambulance Service. My workplace is a major regional Ambulance Station, it has the same number of frontline crews on duty as it did in the early 1970's when it was built. Since that time there has been more reorganisations and improvement initiatives than anyone can remember. One of the largest was the regionalisation of the county service and scrappage of the old management structure (the latter has been done quite a few times). Since then the previous Management positions have all come back with different titles, higher pay scales, and the essential "Assistants". In addition to this have come a plethora of non-jobs such as "Resilience Managers", "Business Managers", and every absurd corporate title commensurate with the monstrosity that is "Administration" (Not forgetting the essential and much loved "HR Business Partners?"). Our CEO now attracts a greater salary than the Prime Minister along with a number of his colleagues. We have seen it all from the "Front Loaded Model" to various silly schemes where ambulances literally follow cars to incidents with just a driver in each. The fact is every bizarre initiative be it roster changes, skill mix changes, station closures, vehicle changes, solo working, triage sieves, Management structure reviews, the whole shambles, has not produced anywhere near the desired results; the resources have not matched demand, and 'mismanagement' combined with shocking 'over management', without directing every available pound away from inflated Management salaries and bloated Administration but towards the frontline, has brought the Ambulance Service to its knees. Don't fall into the trap of blaming the public as indeed Management used to blame the staff, the blame rests 'fair and square' with under-resourced services and mismanagement over a very long period. For too long has the frontline been tertiary to Senior Management and Administration, until the culture and priorities are reversed, the Ambulance Service will stay in crisis

Kay   14/12/2015 at 15:21

The ambulance service requires support, and dnew blood as well as a wealth of experience. Im sure many are not lost, and do progress into other NHS careers, however I am also aware that there are many people in jobs such as care, who would like to get into the profession, but without funding and support it's just not possible. A shame that we're missing out on such caring professionals joining a service that needs them!

James Meehan   09/02/2016 at 09:15

I've left after 12 years, realising that the work i was doing was perpetuating rather than solving the problem.

Steve Mellon   09/02/2016 at 18:07

In 16 yrs service, we've always had those silly calls or overruns, late meal breaks and bad shift patterns but I am sick of doing non emergency calls generated by the 111 pathways system where ambulances are being sent to ridiculous calls ( 4 month shoulder pain for example ) because the computer generates an unnecessary ambulance response. This has trebled our work load for rubbish then we get it in the neck because we've delayed getting to a 'proper' job. It is this unsustainable workload of inappropriate crap that is driving me away. I am fed up with only having 5 ambulances on nights for an area serving roughly 300,000 people and counting and I'm especially sick of the public not taking a pinch of responsibility in their own health care even to the point of not taking pain relief to sort themselves.

Management Are To Blame!   10/02/2016 at 11:55

I feel the buck stops with bad management! There is no empathy, no understanding or compassion give to staff. All they know is a blame culture of bullying & tyranny! When will someone wake up & see that beating staff with contemptuous attitudes is the sole cause of the discontent. Wouldn't get away with it in the private sector!

Nicola Klein   11/02/2016 at 07:23

This is because they are either terminating experienced high paid staff unlawfully or forcing them to leave(constructive dismissal) due to the poor working conditions. I think a serious investigation needs to take place and the figures of contracts being terminated and the staff in which are being terminated.

Phil Brown   13/02/2016 at 09:41

I left the service after 10 years and recognise a lot of the issues raised. The irony is that other parts of the NHS value paramedic skills and experience very highly! I've moved into primary care, yes they are spinning plates too, but I work with a great team, don't work nights, don't work weekends, work in a dry warm building and got a pay rise! You don't have to stay put anymore, take your skills where they will be used and appreciated, all the best everyone :)

Tony James   13/02/2016 at 20:16

I was one of these Paramedics that jacked in the NHS after 19 years service. It's the best thing I ever done was moved to private healthcare. The money is better, no bullying managers, no "hurry up hurry up" I get a rest break every shift now and not moaned at if I go and get food half way through a shift. Managers HAVE to understand this STAFF NEED TO EAT! I asked the CEO of EMAS 2 years ago "who comes first in your book..the patients or your staff".. she couldn't answer it.. I told her . you'll always have punters, 1000s in fact... but you've only a finite number of staff. you're pissing us all of on a daily basis" She said she couldn't put her staff before patients.. and that's the day I decided to ;eave the NHS.

Pat Lawrence   14/02/2016 at 01:04

I am ex LAS. I left in 2012 as an ECP. I enjoyed the job for 18 years but left due to the ECP role being gotten rid of. I was offered a role as Paramedic which represented going backwards 10 yrs and losing £6000 per year. I would encourage all paramedics to follow my example and use the skills used as an ECP to move into the hospital system. I have now worked in a well known NW London UCC. Band 7, still clinical. Problem is the patient numbers and calibre are still the same. Management tend to be a bit more understanding. AND good learning prospects. Once 'autonomous' agency shifts can open up at up to £40/hr but easier on the young. I like my time off to be off! Make being a paramedic a step on the way to better things. These days I don't think they want or expect you for longer than 5yrs. Good luck all.

Les   16/04/2016 at 00:54

99% of ambulance staff feel the same - overworked, underpaid and undervalued by management, the question is how much longer are we going to sit back meekly and take it up the ...! In the private sector employees with proven increased productivity get financial rewards, though not all an obscene £14 million, we just get more work, more late finishes, burn-out, rapidly deteriorating morale, increased sickness & staff leaving at an unprecedented rate due to the ever worsening work/life balance. Paramedics should always have been in at least Band 6, we were allocated Band 5 purely to save money, there is an argument that we should be in Band 7 when you compare our remit to Nursing staff at that grade. Currently the NHS JEG are re-evaluating the job description for Paramedics {?due for completion 20/04/2016} and no doubt will find a way to restrict any pay rise when we should be getting substantial back pay. Such a shame the ASU did not become the sole union for ambulance staff. We need to be united and I believe a single Union, that acts for ambulance staff alone, must surely be the way forward; see what the railway union has achieved for it's staff. The recognised Union for my Trust has agreed changes to our terms and conditions without even balloting members! Don't sit back and expect the Unions to do it all for you, they cannot without membership pressure, members need to press their Union for action and those not in a union I would urge to join. I believe we need to prepare for industrial action this year that may not be popular with the public we serve, but at the end of the day we need to put ourselves first for a change.

Foreigner   30/09/2016 at 20:38

I feel sorry for all of you, you deserve respect, better working condition, better pay rates, guaranteed raise, and you should be proud of what you do. Go on strike, all of you, just quit your job, let there be no paramedics, then you have a chance. As long as you work like slaves, like some cheap labor, being paid [9.20 net for an hour] you wont achieve anything! Fight for your rights. They hired HAYS, HMA, and who knows which else agencies, to hire paramedics from abroad, that will steal your jobs. Do you think thats good you? No!

Hermit Singh   25/12/2016 at 20:07

Phew ! And I thought general practice was in the doldrums.. ..Surely there is a global destination where paramedics amazing skills & experience can be valued, rewarded PLUS the quality of life is incomparable?? Aaah, yes. Come on downunder to New Zealand or even Tasmania (if averse to earthquakes!) Like the UK 30-40 years ago. (What'sUp Doc at 07799012001)

*   19/01/2017 at 12:37

I resigned from my permanent position as a paramedic over 6 months ago after over 10 years in the Ambulance service and went on the Bank with a zero hour contract. So far it's been the best decision I have ever made, I feel in control of my own life, work part time hours, only volunteer for day shifts, work the weekends I want to, and if I get a series of very late finishes I just don't need to work as many shifts the next week. The current situation of mass vacancies works to my advantage as there are loads of shifts available. It was a tough decision to come to having been used to the 2 perks of an NHS contract, good annual leave allowance and sickness pay. But it has meant I have been able to carry on as a Paramedic, as my only alternative was to leave the profession all together.

Bob   21/01/2017 at 06:44

Reading all of the comments to this article what becomes apparent is that Paramedics are leaving the NHS not so much because of the 'poor salary' but because of the changes in the organisational culture and lack of effective leaders of the ambulance service. Yes, paramedic BASIC salaries start at £22k but they now extend to £35k PLUS a maximum of an additional 25% of their basic salary for working unsocial hours. This is a higher rate thAn that paid to the rest of the NHS with the difference that ambulance services pay the 25% on ALL shifts and not just on those shifts that actually incur working unsocial hours- unlike the rest of the NHS. They also receive this 25% when they are on leave or off sick and it is pensionable. So a £30k salary can soon become over £37k, excluding the London weighting. Then there is the added incentive for payments for not getting your scheduled meal break which in itself and for those that 'work' the system can mean additional few thousand pounds per year. Official or unofficial, how many Paramedics can honestly say that they never got a chance to eat anything at all during a shift? The problem with the NHS ambulance service is the leadership and very senior management. Often the people at the top of the organisation have lost their understanding of what the ambulance service is there to do- they no longer understand their core business- their reason for being. They are often not qualified or experienced to manage, let alone demonstrate any positive leadership skills. They are more concerned with feeding their own ego's, chasing awards for best ambulance service, best ambulance man, highest flu vaccinator etc. All they want to do is deliver more patients to hospital so that they get paid more and they can say that they are in crisis, can't cope and urgently need more funding! This is all to the detriment of the patient who just wants to be treated quickly and efficiently; and preferably in their own home and least of all in an A&E department. Any investment in innovative pre-hospital care has been stripped back or stopped altogether, in favour of just transporting patients to hospital 'because that's what we get paid for'. Some of the reviewers above cite that management no longer have operational experience-this will only perpetuate because the experienced staff are leaving in favour of ambulance services recruiting university graduates who then don't stay and are not in it for the long haul. In fact so much money is spent on training and recruiting these graduates for them to then just return back to their home county when they have qualified. Until the top leadership and senior management in ambulance services is addressed, I am afraid that things will only get worse....particularly for the patients.

Tamsin   02/08/2017 at 19:17

A few reasons why: 1) change in pension age Paramedics carting people up and down stairs when over 60 is ridiculous. 2)Poor pay, re-banding allegedly happening but when in Scotland... 3)Lack of support, single handed rapid responders being left in stressful situations with occasionally sick individuals and no ambulance to move them 4) Poor management, Control not able to triage appropriately..can't say no...someone with a cold should not be responded to as "difficulty breathing". 5) Ambulances routinely sent to individuals who do not require them (usually be NHS 24 according to my contacts) 6) Public expectations very often unrealistic Improve GP out of hours services, send taxis to take folk there instead. Finally I wouldn't be so sure that those leaving are staying the the NHS... my husband is planning to work in B&Q!

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