The GMB requested another meeting with Scottish Government at the end of last year after the meeting on flexing annual leave did not allow us to present our other concerns.
On Fri 6th Feb the GMB and our sister unions attended a meeting with Michael Matheson the Public Health Minister for Scotland to discuss our frustration with the Scottish Ambulance Services lack of willingness to resolve several key issues.
There were several failings put forward to the minister by staff side including failure to appropriately manage our rest breaks, concerns around Optima watering down cover and resources, non coverage of shifts for financial not clinical reasons, relief staff not been allocated a minimum of 4 weeks of shifts in advance (work life balance), Hospital Red calls and hot response green calls, the percentage of Cat A targets reported to Scot Gov artificially inflated due to HOSRED calls, increase in planned single manning, scheduled care cutbacks, constant threat to our basic terms and conditions due to finance, staff not being appropriately trained due to cutbacks (no protected learning time).
All of these issues and others that were presented are impacting on staff and patient safety and increased stress to staff in the service.
We explained that we have tried to resolve these issues through partnership working however there is a lack of willingness by the service to do so.
The meeting went well and Michael Matheson understood our frustration and accepted that we had contacted him due to failure to resolve these issues in partnership.
He was receptive to our problems and we are now awaiting a response to our concerns.
On Friday the 7th of Feb we met with Daren Mochrie to discuss some of the issues we raised with the Government.
We discussed having a full time rest break manager on each shift that would oversee the rest breaks as their only duty.
We also discussed a level of accountability to managers when rest breaks failed to be appropriately managed.
This will become top priority and we will meet more frequently to resolve the issue.
Dual allocation is causing problems for crews being allocated jobs when they are not first out and we are looking at that.
Relief staff not being allocated shifts in advance was also discussed and Daren has sent an email to the General Managers and Workforce Planning outlining the concerns.
We had further discussions around Optima and we will look to advance discussions on all other issues at our next meeting.
I will keep you updated on any response from Scottish Government and progress made in partnership.