Concern over response times for Sheffield ambulance workers

Yorkshire ambulance vehicles
Yorkshire ambulance vehicles

Sheffield ambulance workers should not be pressured to attend incidents more quickly, a trade union has said, following concerns jobs are being wrongly categorised to hit targets.

A source close to Yorkshire Ambulance Service told The Star a Sheffield ambulance crew was suspended from duty for not using blue lights and sirens while driving to an incident which had not been flagged up as an emergency.

“Management want us to achieve the Government target time of eight minutes for life-threatening emergencies and are pushing their staff to drive ever faster without regard for the consequences,” the source said.

“I am extremely concerned for the safety of the public.”

The service’s ambulances and fast response vehicles receive information about jobs as text messages displayed on screens.

The worker said: “This is extremely distracting to a driver and creates considerable danger to other road users. It would create a terrible impression if you pulled up at a life-threatening emergency, then stayed in your vehicle to wade through five or six long texts.”

A spokesman for the Unison trade union, which represents many Yorkshire ambulance workers, said decisions on whether to use blue lights and sirens were down to individual drivers.

“The police are responsible for upholding the law, not the trust. Members should not be put under the pressure while carrying out their duties of both facing suspension and disciplinary action and being prosecuted.”

A spokeswoman for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “Our staff respond to 999 calls, including pre-alerts to incidents, as quickly as possible under emergency driving conditions. The trust is currently talking to union representatives to clarify any misunderstanding.

“We remain committed to providing a high quality, safe and responsive service to patients and this will always be our top priority.”

The Star understands the two suspended staff members are back at work.