Press Release

SIPTU preparing to mobilise to win respect for ambulance professionals

Date Released: 01 January 2020

SIPTU representatives have today (Wednesday, 1st January) said that members working in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) are planning a national mobilising campaign to win respect and recognition for all ambulance professionals in 2020.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Our members, across all grades in the NAS, are determined to secure greater recognition from the health employers including, if necessary, by taking a ballot for industrial action early in the new year. Our members are no longer “van” drivers. They have over a relatively short period of time developed into a highly skilled workforce with the ability to make key clinical decisions and to administer lifesaving medications to patients suffering trauma, cardiac arrest or stroke. That deserves to be recognised.”
 
“In 2017, SIPTU representatives engaged in a successful national industrial campaign to secure vital resources for our NAS members to do their jobs effectively and safely, including the purchase of a new ambulance fleet to serve the public.

In 2019, SIPTU representatives participated in a review of the skillsets of ambulance professionals with a specific focus on emergency medical technicians and paramedics. The findings of this review, due to be published in early 2020, are likely to confirm what SIPTU members already believe - that the role of all frontline ambulance professionals has evolved through education and training to the standard expected of health and social care professionals.”
 
He added: “It may shock the wider medical community, including the Minister for Health, Simon Harris and indeed the general public, that ambulance professionals are not regulated unlike nurses, midwives, radiographers, radiation therapists and physiotherapists yet they are responsible for administering up to 45 lifesaving drugs and making clinical decisions and in many cases are the first point of contact for patients. The regulation of ambulance professionals must be treated as a priority.
 
“As with other health and social care professions,  regulation will protect patients, provide a mandatory framework for practice and make it an offence to impersonate staff members. It is well overdue. It may also shock those same actors that ambulance professionals have no recognised pay scale within the public sector consolidated pay scales. This is absolutely unacceptable and must be addressed once and for all.”
 
“Our members rightly feel that their time for recognition and respect is now and that the Government needs to engage on these issues and give them confidence that the future structure, viability and vision of our National Ambulance Service works for the many, not the few.”


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