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Caithness Ambulance Funding

Friday, March 31, 2017

Caithness Ambulance Funding Must Be Used To Boost Overworked And Under-Resourced Staff

GMB Scotland has welcomed a £400,000 funding boost for ambulance services in Caithness but is urging health chiefs to ensure the money is used to help frontline staff constantly working at breaking point.

The package brought forward by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) and NHS Highland comes after GMB Scotland called the local service ‘a disaster waiting to happen’ against a backdrop of unsustainable working and service provision arrangements.

GMB Scotland is now calling on SAS management to ensure the investment, which could employ up to eight new members of frontline staff, is used to ease long-standing workforce pressures, delivering a better and safer service for the Caithness public.

GMB Scotland Organiser Karen Leonard said: “Our members across the Scottish Ambulance Service are overworked and under-resourced and the litany of problems across the Caithness service is well documented.

For our members it means working over and above proper shift patterns, vehicle and equipment checks go undone because of the demands on working time, meals breaks are missed and rest periods are spent on the job – that’s not safe nor sustainable.

On that basis, the funding package will be a welcome boost for the public and staff alike but it has to be directly allocated into frontline jobs and services and it has to be the start of a longer-term investment programme for the Caithness region.

The first step in resolving a problem is by recognising there is one and we hope this funding suggests that there is an appetite on the part of management to tackle the challenges in Caithness, which we wholeheartedly welcome.

But let’s be clear that this needs to be replicated across the entire country and we need an honest debate about the future of the Scottish Ambulance Service because the staff are at breaking point.”


Contact: GMB Scotland Organiser Karen Leonard on 07718 112031