20 Days Remaining

Wednesday 20th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

AMBULANCE workers are under so much pressure that thousands took sick leave last year due to stress-related illnesses, according to new union research published today.

The GMB study found that 12 per cent of the ambulance service’s 20,000 staff in England — 2,469 paramedics and healthcare assistants — were forced by stress to take time off last year.

The trusts with the highest level of illness are East Midlands NHS Ambulance Trust, where 23 per cent of staff took sick leave due to stress, and North East Ambulance Trust, with 22 per cent.

The number of working days lost across England was 81,668 in 2016-17.

GMB uncovered the shocking figures through freedom of information requests submitted to England’s 10 NHS ambulance trusts.

The union wants the retirement age of ambulance paramedics to be lowered to match that of other front-line emergency service workers, such as police officers and firefighters who can retire at 60 — itself too high. The current retirement age for paramedics is 68.

GMB national officer Kevin Brandstatter said: “These disturbing figures once again prove what we already know — that our front-line ambulance workers are in the midst of a stress and anxiety epidemic.

“It’s no wonder almost 12 per cent of the workforce is sick with stress. Theresa May needs to stop burying her head in the sand and start listening to front-line ambulance workers.

“Workforce numbers haven’t kept pace with sharply rising demand. It’s time paramedics and other ambulance staff workers got the support they deserve.”