Yorkshire Ambulance “alarmingly” downgraded almost 11,000 emergency calls
Further information obtained by Unite has also revealed that between October 2013 and October 2014 in 11 of the 12 months, it failed the national target of getting 75 per cent of ambulances to “Red” emergencies in eight minutes.
This failure puts lives at risk and means that between February and October 2014 despite the downgrades, the service still failed the national target for “Red emergencies (YAS met the target in January).
Paramedics, who have warned for years of patients’ lives potentially being put at risk by decisions made at the top of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, have been targeted and gagged by senior management and their board. The paramedics have been subject to trumped-up disciplinary action and seen their union agreement torn up because they sought to expose the truth to the public.
“Whistle-blowers”, who wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, have made allegations of emergency call-out data being manipulated to cover-up systemic failure to reach targets.
Emergency care assistants with only a fraction of the training of their qualified colleagues are being sent to urgent and emergency calls without a qualified paramedic.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has begun its inspection of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS). The inspection is part of the final stages of YAS’s application to become a foundation trust which would give the board more powers to increase the pay of senior management, the ability to borrow money and the right to generate up to 49 per cent of its revenue from private income. Unite maintains that YAS must not be rewarded for failure.
Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: “What Unite has uncovered is absolutely alarming. There needs to be a thorough investigation into allegations that the service could be gambling with people’s lives. Senior management at the Yorkshire Ambulance Services have a record of systemic failure, incompetence and are mired in allegations of cover-ups.
“Despite its failings, YAS is brazenly attempting to become a foundation trust which would give the board greater powers, including the authority to increase the pay of senior management, the ability to borrow money and the right to generate up to 49 per cent of their revenue from private income.
“Unlike other ambulance trusts and foundation trusts, the senior management of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service have refused to disclose their full business plans for the next five years. That is because what they contain will cause public outrage throughout Yorkshire and Humberside. Staff numbers are to be slashed by over 10 per cent, the fleet is to be slashed by over 15 per cent and closures of ambulance stations are planned.”