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John Marr Speech, STUC Conference 2016 – Motion 54 – Scottish Ambulance Service

STUC Conference 2016

I have been with the ambulance service for 30 years, worked on PTS, Pru, Ambulance Helicopter and A&E, and have never seen the ambulance service in Scotland in such crisis. Our members make life saving decision every day and do this stressed, over worked and tired.

This motion is calling for the support of the STUC to help sort out the ambulance service.

For many years now many members of staff do 12 hour shifts with no breaks, this has been brought up time and time again but the situation is not good enough.

Conference, we are under resourced.

It’s not uncommon for members being called out to a 999 call without having had the time to ensure the ambulance has been checked or restocked. Clearly this could put lives at risk.

We believe stress levels within the service are at an all-time high, we accept that the job we do is stressful and challenging but management make it worse with the lack of breaks, equipment and people.

The ambulance service should not be run on the bare bone of staff numbers and stretching every single worker to their limit every shift. That is why we will be carrying out a campaign across the service to establishhow bad stress is within the workplace and what can we do to reduce the stress. We need everyone’s support through that campaign. One day anyone in this room may need the ambulance service and you don’t want a paramedic that has just done 11 hours shift with no break and stressed out.


The Scottish Ambulance Service is the only ambulance service in the UK that still has staff working a On-Call service.

The on-call policy in place in Scotland needs to be scrapped, the rest of the UK has deemed it unworkable yet we continue to use it up here. This is a policy that needs to be addressed.

We have members who work 12 hours On-Call and they only get £18 for being at the beckon call of the service and the public.  If a staff member gets called out at 2am for example, and the call lasts 30 minutes, they only get paid for that 30 minutes.  The disruption to his family and the fact that it might take the staff member 2 hours to get back to sleep are not taken in to consideration.

We have crew who work 12 hours on station and then 12 hours On-Call. These crews can do up to 22 hours without a break.

We understand that some rural areas cannot justify having crews on 24 hours but the stations that have staff who do 12 hours shift and then 12 hours On-Call for up to 7 days, should be considered becoming 24 hour stations.

It has also come to light that the staff within the Scottish Ambulance Service have under bandied compared to the rest of the UK.  We ask that the banding is relooked at and addressed so our members are paid the same as Ambulance staff in other parts of the UK.

The ambulance service has not been immune to the public sector cuts, we need to address the funding gap in the service to make it the best ambulance service not only in the UK but the world. The staff deserve that and so do the public.

We cannot play with people’s lives like this.

It’s time for the Scottish government to work with the GMB to ensure the funding is there to make it a top class service.

Support this motion and let’s give the workers in the ambulance service a fair pain and a service that the staff and public deserve, we ask for the support they deserve to make it better for all.




Posted: 27th April 2016

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