999 staff in South Yorkshire ‘facing pay cut’

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AMBULANCE staff in South Yorkshire claim they are facing pay cuts of up to £4,000 a year if health bosses put a new cost-cutting salary structure in place.

Assistant practitioners, who help paramedics on emergency ambulances, are being regraded by the NHS to save money.

The father of one assistant practitioner from Rotherham, said: “These guys do a fantastic job and I think they are being penalised.

“They assist on the frontline dealing with 999 calls. Their managers aren’t going to get a pay cut but some of these workers are facing pay cuts of up to £4,000 a year.

“They deal with some horrific incidents. They are an essential part of the service.”

Assistant practitioners are less qualified than paramedics, but administer drugs to patients and drive ambulances.

Under the proposals they will be downgraded from NHS Band 4 to Band 3 and the role renamed emergency care assistant.

One worker said: “They want staff to do the same job but on less money - it doesn’t seem fair. It is messing with people’s livelihoods and causing a lot of stress.”

Stephen Moir, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust deputy chief executive, said: “The trust is required to achieve financial savings and is committed to doing so while ensuring the delivery of high-quality and safe services for patients.

“We fully recognise such changes can be difficult and cause concern and have worked hard to minimise negative impact on our staff.
“We are committed to protecting and maintaining the number of jobs within our frontline emergency service and have been talking to staff and trade unions about proposals to move to a more efficient and affordable A&E workforce.

“We are proposing an increase in the number of paramedics employed by the trust supported by emergency care assistants.

“While this also requires changes to some roles including assistant practitioners, it ensures job security for staff as well as providing a clear pathway for progression to paramedic roles.

“We would like to reassure members of the public that any changes to our A&E workforce have patients’ interests at heart.”