Paramedics go out on strike again in 999 shifts row

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Paramedics will be on strike today (Friday) after more industrial action was called in a dispute over changes to shift patterns at Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

Members of the Unite union will strike from 3pm-8pm today and at the same times on Monday.

Unite claims that changes to working patterns at the organisation are dangerous and will mean paramedics going 10 hours without a break.

Strike action previously took place on February 1 and 3.

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “The latest strikes over elongated shift patterns follow the latest refusal of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to meet Unite to resolve the dispute.

“We are continuing to work with community representatives, commissioners and MPs throughout the region to reach a fair settlement for the Yorkshire public and our dedicated members.

“We understand that there will be public concern about this action and would want to assure them that this is a last resort as a result of the trust’s executives refusal to negotiate with Unite.”

Unite was de-recognised by the ambulance service a year ago in a long-running dispute over patient safety which led to strikes in April and June.

The union claims £46m of budget cuts at the organisation will put patients in danger. But ambulance bosses have accused the union of making misleading claims.

Unite has also called for an independent inquiry by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to find out if patient safety is being compromised.

Mr Cunliffe added: “We would welcome an independent inquiry by the CQC to determine whether it is Unite or the trust’s executives who are misleading the public about the facts in this dispute.”

The CQC confirmed it had received information from Unite.

Malcolm Bower-Brown, the CQC’s regional director for the North said: “We are aware of concerns that have been raised and are currently considering whether any regulatory action is required.”