Representatives of ambulance employers, trades unions and other national stakeholders met on 10 June to consider how to make further and more urgent progress on the workforce issues that have led to trades unions holding consultative ballots on possible industrial action.
The parties are aware of the potential impact on patients of any form of industrial action that could be taken in the ambulance sector and remain committed to working constructively together in order to develop sustainable solutions around a range of workforce issues.
There was a strong commitment to continue this national dialogue with renewed energy and working at pace to define the time scales and set milestones for this work to be concluded.
The areas identified for further joint partnership work are:
- Reaching a conclusion to a review of the national job evaluation profiles for paramedics that had been commissioned by the National Ambulance Strategic Partnership Forum (NASPF). Produce guidance and support the job evaluation (JE) process at organisational level.
- Ensuring that ambulance commissioners are aware of and understand the likely financial impact of any proposed changes to banding in the immediate future and longer term.
- Developing an agreed programme of work on ways to improve the employee experience and health and wellbeing of ambulance staff. This will consider the operational pressures that affect staff experience as well as issues around violence and aggression, bullying and harassment, and the treatment of black and minority ethnic (BME) ambulance staff.
- A joint review of the impact, “take up” and scope of the recently agreed Early Retirement Reduction Buy Out scheme to be undertaken before April 2017.
- Finding workable solutions to the challenges facing ambulance staff of changes to retirement age through work in the Ambulance Working Longer Review Group.
The parties are committed to operating within existing national frameworks and have agreed to work together to develop a clear timetable for these work areas. They will provide an update in due course.
Ken Wenman: Chief Executive South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust: Joint Chair NASPF
Alan Lofthouse: National Officer Unison: Joint Chair NASPF
Paul Wallace: Director of Employment Relations and Reward: NHS Employers