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Ambulance staff need more support amid unprecedented pressure, says Unison

AMBULANCE workers need more support as they come under unprecedented pressure during the Covid-19 pandemic, Unison warned today.

The union has written to Association of Ambulance Chief Executives chairman Daren Mochrie calling for action, citing “unsustainable public demand” that has led to 24-hour waits for some ambulances to arrive.

In the letter, Unison said missed meal breaks, late finishes, queueing outside hospitals and increasing levels of sick leave are taking their toll on staff wellbeing, with many left in tears at the end of shifts.

Time-wasting 999 calls are also an issue, the union pointed out, warning the extreme pressure is seeing services regularly reach the highest alert level.

Unison is demanding that bosses give workers their legal entitlement of breaks, limit overtime and improve priority decision-making to avoid unnecessary callouts. 

Ministers must also address the “foreseeable” crisis by fixing long-term capacity issues, the union stressed. 

​Unison’s deputy head of health Helga Pile said: “It’s not surprising many [staff] have reached burnout. They cannot be left to just carry on doing excessive hours without proper breaks and rest ​between shifts.”

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