The YAS has issued 90 days’ notice to their employees outlining their plans to cut the number of frontline staff at 27 ambulance stations in the region including Beverley, Brough, Goole, Pocklington, Preston, Scarborough, Willerby and York. As a result of this, Rapid Response paramedic positions are set to be slashed by 23.6% in North and East Yorkshire, the biggest reduction in the area.
The paramedic, who asked not to be named, told us that the loss of a Rapid Response vehicle in Driffield is of great concern with ambulances sometimes left out of action for two hours whilst they are waiting for beds at A&E.
“Currently, ambulances are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are usually readily available when required,” they said.
“Under the proposed plans, there will now be two ambulances available in the area.
“One of these will be working for 24 hours a day whilst the other will be finishing its service during the evening at a time yet to be decided.
“The staffing reductions will mean that there will not be a Rapid Response vehicle based in Driffield other than the Emergency First Responder provided by Humberside Fire and Rescue.”
Although ambulances will still be stationed in Driffield, the paramedic we spoke to believes that the vastly proposed reductions will see most of their work carried out in other areas of the East Riding.
“In Beverley, the Rapid Response vehicle is being reduced, as is the ambulance service, while in Filey, Hornsea and Pocklington, the Rapid Response vehicles are going to be cut completely.
“Also, Bridlington’s 24-hour ambulance will now run from Monday to Thursday rather than the two which currently operate seven days a week.
“Because the ambulances are based in Driffield, many people believe that they only respond to calls in the area.
“However, this is not the case and these cuts will result in their workload being stretched even further across the East Riding.
“The Driffield ambulance works all over the region and these reductions are going to have a major significance for people in the area.
“The Trust seems to be reducing their services in rural communities whilst increasing their focus in the cities.
“One of the main concerns we have is that nowadays, ambulance crews can be waiting at a hospital for up to two hours whilst a bed becomes available for the patient.
“If the ambulance is queuing and there is not a Rapid Response vehicle in the area, this means that people in Driffield and the surrounding area will be left with longer waits because crews have decreased,” the paramedic said.
Figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request show that since the final quarter of 2014/15 the fire service’s Emergency First Responders have attended 3,596 incidents in the Hull & East Riding Clinical Business Unit (CBU).
This is significantly higher than the other three CBUs and their resources are expected to be further stretched should the YAS push through their proposed changes. Unison said that it has written to the Trust with their concerns about the loss of rural cover. “The Trust has issued 90 days’ notice and we are now in the consultation period and Unison are working with the Trust to approve proposed cover.
“We have written to the Trust expressing our concerns at the loss of rural cover. “The East Riding is an area of great concern with the largest reduction of Rapid Response vehicles across the Trust.
“We are willing to work with the Trust to re-work these numbers,” said a Unison spokesperson.
- Having contacted the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust they failed to provide the Wolds Weekly with a statement regarding the proposed cuts.