National ambulance specifications – make your voices heard

UNISON Eastern is urging ambulance staff to make their voices heard over a bid to introduce a uniform fleet design for double-crewed ambulances across England.

Following last year’s Lord Carter review into operational productivity in England’s ambulance trusts, NHS Improvement has opened a consultation on a specific van-conversion ambulance style to do away with “unwarranted variation” across England’s 10 NHS trusts.

The East of England’s new design currently on the production line – with a reduction in weight, better emissions, improved fuel economy, lower running costs and above all a focus on staff and patient safety – was specifically excluded from a stakeholders’ meeting on a new standard design. No-one was even allowed to see it.

Despite NHS Improvement talking extensively to the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, there has been no active engagement from UNISON so far.

It is therefore important that ambulance staff make their opinions known.

UNISON East of England Ambulance Service health and safety officer Jeff Pitman said: “There cannot be a ‘one model suits all’ ambulance because the different ambulance services operate in totally different environments, variable landscapes with different travel distances to hospital emergency rooms.

“It is crucial that our clinicians who work in ambulances on a day to day basis engage in the consultation process and make their views known so that UNISON can respond on their behalf to ensure that our service remains empowered to provide an ambulance to our crews that not only meets the criteria of the Lord Carter report but also encompasses the warranted changes necessary for our clinicians to work in safely for long distances over protracted periods with the latest equipment and technology.”

More information can be found on the East of England Ambulance branch website, while UNISON’s London Ambulance Service branch has also published useful information on the consultation.

You can find the consultation and proposed ambulance fleet specification here.