GMB final submission on East Midlands Ambulance service calls for brakes to be applied to allow more work on proposed changes.
Before anything is implemented a further round of consultation is needed with much more detail being available so we can make informed suggestions says GMB.
GMB, the union for ambulance staff, has published its final submission to the East Midlands Ambulance Service Trust “being the best” proposals. See notes to editors for submission.
Colin Todd GMB organiser, said “GMB is not against changes. However, a lot more work needs to be done on these proposals before they are implemented.
GMB feel there is too much too soon and the brakes should be applied. We feel that before anything is implemented that a further round of public and staff consultation is needed with much more detail being available so we can make informed suggestions.”
Contact Colin Todd, GMB Lincoln Office 01522 525579 or 07966 327 982 or GMB Press Office 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823
Notes to Editors
GMB submission 17th December 2012
We have found the consultation to fall short of what we would expect and is not in the spirit or intent of our partnership agreement.
We have requested information which has not been provided, some answers to questions are either incomplete or confusing; and the consultation meetings have been listening exercises rather than meaningful discussions and consultation.
We refer you to our letter to CEO dated 31st October 2012 with the attachments and our letter to the Chairman of the board date 22nd November 2012.
There are 3 elements to “Being the best”, but the main focus has been on the estates.
Regarding the estates plan; the proposal was obviously not going to be a viable, workable solution. This was put into the public domain 2 months before the official consultation started and received wide-spread condemnation from the public and the Unions. GMB emailed the trust to suggest that we have discussions before the formal consultation started, but received no response.
We feel that the rota review has been a shambles from the start with staff not being given the rotas for their station until halfway through this process. However, we understand that the consultation period for this is going to be extended and a structure for the consultation to work around is being developed.
The Operations management re-structure – improving effectiveness element has focused heavily on the changes to the management restructure rather than the service delivery model. More discussion is needed on this aspect of the plan and what is in and out of scope.
We feel the meetings were poorly advertised and promoted. There appeared to be a lack of strategy in the planning of the meetings; times, location and delivery. Indeed it is clear that there were several different power point presentations that were being used across the counties.
The presentations, the public documents and the television program (inside out) were mis-leading; as were some of the answers to questions. The feedback report forms are poorly designed and were clearly developed to gain support for the proposals rather than the actual views of the public.
The information provided was far too late and is poor in quality. There is no comparison with current rota and resources in the charts provided.
The delivery of the consultation has been woefully inadequate. Simply sending the resource charts to the crews is not proper consultation.
Furthermore, the reasons behind any changes have not been discussed and justified; nor has the ramifications where there is a reduction in crews or changes to cars from DCA’s; which is felt by many members to be a retrograde step.
Feedback from GMB members’ to-date is that the proposed rotas are far from family friendly.
GMB members are unhappy that a number of “associated elements” have been slipped into this consultation without any details.
Finally, any changes to resources should also be discussed with the public. Failure to do this could lead to a legal challenge.
OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT RE-STRUCTURE – IMPROVING EFFECTIVENESS
The service delivery aspect of this element appears in principal to be a reasonable working solution that might help improve our response effectiveness.
However, there needs to be clear guidelines and possible ring-fencing to their area of responsibility for each level for it to work; whilst acknowledging the need for flexibility at times.
Most importantly, we need to address the deployment criteria for Level 1 response.
More discussions with staff and Unions is needed to get to a final position and this will need to be reviewed regularly to develop continuous improvement.
The operational management re-structure below the 3 new positions of Divisional Directors should be paused until the estates plan is agreed so there can be a synergy between the 2 proposals.
We feel that there needs to be a time and motion study performed for each of the new job roles to establish how workable these positions are and whether we actually need some of the new job roles.
We are concerned that staff are being expected to complete the skills audit form which is part of the assessment criteria even before the end of consultation and that this will contribute towards 20% of their application for the new roles that have not yet been agreed.
The current proposal is flawed and dangerous to the public and staff.
It will create a postcode lottery and it appears that EMAS are looking to community responders and community based defibrillators to fill the gaps in the less populated areas.
HUBS AND TDP’s or CAP’s
We have stand-by points already. These positions were produced using data from Process Evolution.
They are not always facilitated positions, but they are risk assessed by managers and union reps. Staff return to station for their meal breaks, toilet and change of clothing etc.
We have already started to use the latest data from Process Evolution to position available crews at locations near where the “new” TDP’s would be.
The improvements in service are based on responding from the “new” TDP’s, not having Hubs. Therefore, as there is no proposed increase in resources; the improved response times predicted should happen without having Hubs.
However, this is where the plan is majorly flawed; the reality is that crews picking up their vehicle at the Hub will be responding as soon as they are mobile and they will not get to the proposed TDP’s.
It does not appear that the increases in make ready staff numbers and possible re-grading has been costed. We feel that the current proposal on make ready is dependent on the 13 hub model and if this is not the outcome we would need to look at alternatives; such as vehicle movers and/or some being mobile. Furthermore, the “savings” from this part of the proposal are not shown anywhere in the documents.
The feedback to the GMB about providing a Team Leader 24/7 at the hub for staff is a lower priority than staff being required to travel long distances at the start and end of their shift.
It is apparent that additional downtime from travelling to TDP’s from hubs is not factored into the figures. Nor is the additional costs incurred for fuel.
The additional travel time for staff from home to hubs has been generalised by giving an average increase. This needs to be quantified by station and will show huge issues for some staff; particularly in the winter months. Also the risks to staff with increased fatigue.
The locations of the hubs mean huge geographical areas are long distances from the start point of the crews. Without ring-fencing these crews until they get to the area, it will leave certain areas without emergency cover.
Centralising will mean the loss of local geographical knowledge of the crews and local relationships with other healthcare professionals and pathways.
We have requested numerous times full details of the current estate situation. For clarity; we would like to see a breakdown of costs by station, detailing;
- Owned or leased
- If leased, length of lease, cost per annum, release clauses.
- Cost of refurbishment
- DCA capacity internal and external
- Market value
- Cubic area
With this information we could work with EMAS to assess whether any rationalisation of the current stations would be appropriate rather close stations that may be in the right location with the right facilities. It makes no sense to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
We have not been provided with the detailed costing of the new builds. Is the plan simply whatever money EMAS get for the sale of the current estate is spent on the new builds and the facility will reflect this? Or is there something more?
OTHER AMBULANCE SERVICES
We are told that EMAS are following “best practise” from other services; however no information has been provided to support this claim. Furthermore, we understand from our colleagues in West Midlands that this plan is not the same as their model and we suspect this is why details have not been forthcoming.
GMB is not against changes. However, a lot more work needs to be done on these proposals before they are implemented.
We feel there is too much too soon and the brakes should be applied. We feel that before anything is implemented that a further round of public and staff consultation is needed with much more detail being available so we can make informed suggestions.