Sales of a commemorative badge created by two UNISON London Ambulance Service (LAS) staff have raised more than £50,000 for charities providing mental health and financial support to frontline staff, says the union today (Monday 27 July).
Jason Clelland, an emergency medical technician and UNISON rep, and incident response officer Matt James, designed the badge to symbolise the solidarity and camaraderie workers have with colleagues they’ve lost during the pandemic.
NHS and healthcare workers across the country have paid a heavy price keeping the nation safe, with more than 300 dying of Covid-19 since May.
The ambulance service has lost 14 members, including eight in the capital. One in ten ambulance staff is likely to be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), says UNISON.
Profits from the £5 badge will be shared between TASC (The Ambulance Staff Charity) and UNISON’s There For You, the union’s welfare charity.
Services including mental health support, rehabilitation and bereavement counselling will all benefit, says UNISON.
UNISON London Ambulance Service rep Jason Clelland said: “One in ten ambulance staff suffers from PTSD and in two years 15 serving staff have taken their own lives. Supporting charities that help employees and their families is vital.
“The response we’ve had to the appeal has been amazing, it’s even reached Australia. We wanted the badges and the sentiment behind them to be part of an enduring tribute to staff.
“Matt and I want to remember those lost to Covid-19 and those who’ve retired. They all gave so much of their lives to the ambulance service.
“We’d like to see everyone buy a badge today honouring those who’ve fallen, and supporting those still serving.”