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AMBULANCE workers are having to deal with emergencies while wearing ill-fitting uniforms that can be hard for other drivers to see, Unison warned today.
The health union said that a survey of more than 1,000 members of emergency crews across Britain found that their uniforms are unfit for purpose and put workers at risk.
Many are designed to fit men but not women and are prone to ripping, some paramedics and call-centre staff told researchers.
An employer in one NHS ambulance trust even refused to provide caps despite a worker suffering sunstroke, they said.
A motion debated at Unison’s annual health conference in Liverpool this week warned that most uniforms, which are varying shades of green, “tend to blend into the background.”
Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of staff told the union survey that they feel invisible to other drivers when on the roadside.
This contravenes regulations for workers near roadways, which require them to wear high-vis protective clothing, said Unison, which has called for the uniforms to be redesigned.
A fifth of staff told the poll that bosses have never carried out a review of uniforms, while nearly double that proportion (39 per cent) said that their work clothes do not fit well.
Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “It’s worrying that staff are wearing uniforms that are not fit for purpose or that put them at risk.
“This is especially troubling given the overwhelming job pressures they’re facing.
“Ambulance workers need properly fitting kit that keeps them safe, comfortable and doesn’t make their roles even more dangerous.
“All trusts should be carrying out reviews as a matter of urgency.”
NHS England has been contacted for comment.
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