You may have seen or heard on the news recently about Scottish Governments proposed changes to the Fire Service.
The GMB’s position has been made clear in the press that we oppose these changes.
If there is public money available for Out Of Hospital Cardiac Arrests(OOHCA) then the Scottish Ambulance Service should be the beneficiaries.
This would ensure that we have the volume of trained clinicians available to attend cardiac arrests faster and we are not relying on other providers.
It should also be made clear that we have our own cadre of SAS trained first responders for assisting in OOHCA. During the trial with SFRS they were only asked to attend if our own responders were not available.
The SAS attended over 500,000 emergency calls in comparison to the 91,000 calls attended by the SFRS last year. SFRS have done a fantastic job in fire safety and should be supported in that role but the SAS have the clinical expertise for all medical emergencies.
The SFRS budget is already considerably higher than that of the SAS.
SAS employees have had little in the way of a pay rise over the last decade due to the pay freeze. To offer one public service up to 20% pay rise and ignore the others is unacceptable.
The proposals are to offer SFRS a significant pay rise but they should assist the SAS with OOHCA when we have no closer resource.
The GMB will continue to express our concerns and put pressure on the Scottish Government by any means possible. Scottish Government need to invest money where it will make the most impact and ensure the safety of the people of Scotland.
I am sure the public would not expect a member of the SAS turning up to a put out a fire at their home. They also do not expect SFRS to attend their family member that is in cardiac arrest.
The Scottish Ambulance Service are world leaders in health care provision and we need to fight to ensure that investment continues for the future.
Demand currently outstrips our resources but trying to plug that gap on the cheap is not an option.
Please take the time to visit the website below and take part in the public consultation. It is important that our views are heard on all available platforms.