EEAS UNISON Branch Success

Fraer Stevenson, UNISON Branch Secretary for the EEAS has successfully won a grievance for UNISON members ensuring that they will not be forced to solo respond if they don not wish to do so. We would like to congratulate Fraer on this achievement and sincerely hope that NWAS follow suit very soon. This is from their website:

UNISON lone worker grievance upheld

The collective grievance from north Norfolk over enforced lone working has been upheld.

The outcome means that the new policy put forwards by UNISON last year has been adopted in full; the new policy went live on the Trust website today:

The policy is based on the West Midlands lone worker policy and also incorporates learning from:

  • staff feedback and concerns raised by new staff over enforced lone working.
  • dignity at work complaints where managers have been unsupportive.
  • exit interviews where staff cited enforced lone working.
  • x3 historical collective grievances over enforced lone working – B&H, Cambs, and Norfolk.
  • B&H SOG 2.4
  • OI-142
  • Essex OP/017 from 2005.
  • UNISON Put back the heart survey.

The new policy states:

7.6 Staff who find themselves working alone but are not normally employed to do so:

7.6.1 It is important to recognise that not all staff are comfortable working alone and therefore all steps must be made to ensure in such circumstances staff are supported accordingly.  

7.6.2 Where a member of staff finds they are working alone, for example, where a crew member commences duty to find they are solo crewed, they will immediately ensure that EOC (or line manager in the case of non operational staff) are aware. 

7.6.3 A&E staff that do not normally work alone have the right to decline to do so. Discussions between the lone worker, the EOC and local management teams will always bring about a satisfactory conclusion. Where staff have declined to work alone they may either: 

  • Crew with another suitably skilled lone worker who is also solo. 
  • Be crewed on an alternative vehicle where the crew on that vehicle are happy to be separated, and one member  will operate as a lone worker. 
  • Be crewed on an Ambulance with a Solo Responder. This will be undertaken with mutual agreement between all parties. 
  • Undertake 3rd manning with another crew at the discretion of the Senior Manager or Duty Manager on call for each locality. 

7.7  It is accepted that public perception where an emergency ambulance vehicle arrives at the scene of an incident could be that the responder should be able to convey the patient. Where a crew member finds themselves single crewed and are happy to operate as a lone worker but not utilising an Emergency Ambulance Vehicle EOC / Operational Managers will identify a response car for the member of staff to use.

The joint chairs of SPF will review any concerns after 3 months – and any future policy changes will be negotiated in the normal way through the Trust’s policy group.

I’m very grateful to the norfolk staff who stood their ground over this issue and for the panel who reached a fair and supportive decision.

If you have been affected by lone worker issues, please contact your local UNISON representative for support.

Kind regards,


Fraer Stevenson UNISON Branch Secretary

Joint Ambulance Trade Union Statement

19 September 2016

Paramedic banding update

For the last 18 months, UNISON, GMB and Unite, 3 of the trade unions representing the majority of ambulance workers, have been engaged in discussions with employers looking at problems with recruitment and retention of ambulance staff – importantly the banding of paramedics.

In June 2016, we wrote to you with the results from our indicative ballots of ambulance members. Each union reported a similar result which was that you were tired of waiting for the government to deliver the promises they made in 2015/16, and were not prepared to wait indefinitely.

We also recognised that a protracted dispute and the disruption that strike action would bring, was something that all parties wanted to avoid. So, in June we agreed to pause the move to a full industrial action ballot while we held constructive discussions with employers and the government.

A review of the national Job Evaluation profiles for Ambulance Services, by the National Job Evaluation Group (JEG), recognised that the current band 5 and 6 national profiles needed updating. At the NHS Staff Council Executive meeting on 14 September, it was agreed to publish a new band 6 paramedic profile along with technical guidance from JEG to help local matching panels evaluate their current paramedic roles.

We expect the technical guidance and profile to be published on the NHS Employers’ website within the next few weeks. We should make it clear that each organisation will need to evaluate their paramedic role(s) and we cannot guarantee a specified outcome from this evaluation. We will keep working with NHS Employers to support the production of the technical guidance and publish the band 6 profile as soon as possible.

We will also continue our discussions around the policy implications of a move to band 6 and will seek to agree a consistent national position on application. We will also keep using influence and lobbying to ensure the outcomes of matching panels will be funded by the appropriate bodies.

As part of this agreement, the employers and trade unions have agreed to a future piece of work to look at how we can support Newly Qualified Paramedics entering the service. This means looking at how they would be deployed, the level of autonomy and supervision they would have and how a preceptorship programme would better support them into employment. If appropriate, as part of this review we will look at a new role profile for a Newly Qualified Paramedic entry level at band 5.

The announcement last week from the NHS Staff Council is significant and a win for collective bargaining, partnership working and Trade Union members. However, we recognise that there is still a lot to do and each ambulance service will need to undertake local job matching processes. We will approach this work with urgency and in a spirit of partnership. However, the evaluation of paramedics needs to take place and people to receive the correct pay for the role they do, in order for us to resolve our dispute.

These developments have only been possible thanks to the level of support you have given us, by completing our requests for information and by voting in our indicative ballots.

Our collective voice is strong. Working together we make a difference.


Dyslexia/Dyspraxia Assessment in the Workplace

Changing demands at work, such as increased administrative work, can sometimes present difficult challenges for employees with an undiagnosed specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. A formal diagnosis can be used to access the correct support in the workplace and can then be followed up by a workplace needs assessment; this will look specifically at the employee’s job, their dyslexia related difficulties, and detail ways of supporting the employee through reasonable adjustments. It is also accepted as evidence if you are applying for Access to Work support.

If you would like more information please contact Julie Meadwell (Specialist Assessor) via or call 07496 566043.

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Just click on Forum at the top of this page and you will be taken to our new chat forum. Just register with any name that you choose and join in the conversation with other members from across NWAS and your NWAS UNISON reps.

May 2016 News Update

UNISON Announces Indicative Ballot of Ambulance Members

At the UNISON Healthcare Conference, General Secretary Dave Prentis announced that all ambulance members are to balloted due to the failure of the Government to keep to its promises that ended the strike action last year.

The ballot follows 12 months of talks with the employers over the offer that the Government made in in early 2015. The offer included looking at the recruitment and retention issues, looking at a 50:50 cost sharing provision which would allow ambulance staff to take their pension up to 3 years early and to explore the obvious challenges that have arisen from extending the retirement age.

There has been slight progress as employers have agreed to update the national ambulance Job Evaluation profiles, they have commissioned specialists to look at the Paramedic Role and have agreed to talks about Band 6 for Paramedics. However, this is conditional upon additional funding that the Government has said the employer has to find from existing budgets.

UNISON is disappointed with the lack of progress on the pension scheme offer as there is still nothing for ambulance staff and we are also frustrated with the progress of the talks and the fact that the Government has not committed to funding any of the offers made.