Dear LAS UNISON Member,
Hope you had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.
But it seems to me 2018 is here and nothing has changed, our call rate is still increasing beyond being funny and if we are truthful we are finding it difficult to cope.
Hospitals across London and all across the UK are also finding it difficult to manage.
Every day and every hour Ambulances are being queued, just waiting to unload the patient that they have conveyed to a local A&E – it is becoming the norm.
It is called “winter pressures” but it seems to me that our pressures seem to last all year; winter, summer and relatively mild pressures!
Only last week our Prime Minister said “The NHS is better prepared for this winter than ever before”
Then the same week we get told that the NHS have cancelled all non-emergency operations, which Officials have estimated, that this could lead to up to 55,000 deferred operations – such as cataract surgery and hip replacements.
Then we find out that across the country, Nearly 5,000 ambulances spent more than an hour queueing outside A&E during the festive week – the highest levels this winter.
A total of 16,900 people were forced to wait for more than 30 minutes to be seen by staff at emergency departments over the Christmas week, up from 11,900 the previous week.
Our Service are still having to fly to the other side of the world to get trained Paramedics to come and work in London, when our own Staff are willing and waiting to be trained.
Our Service is still using a private ambulance company to cover shortfalls.
This is not an NHS that is well prepared, this is not the health service that the people of London and the rest of the country deserve; last year was one of the most difficult we have had to deal with and everybody at LAS UNISON are proud of the way our members went about their work helping people in some of the most difficult of circumstances.
This week the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremey Hunt made an informal visit to the Headquarters of the London Ambulance Service and stated; “I was particularly impressed to hear about the efforts of their dedicated staff to plan for winter; they have clearly been effective in helping ensure good care for their patients.”
Which is always very nice for LAS Staff to be praised, but it’s not just praise that our members need, giving public service workers a pat on the back isn’t going to put food on their table, petrol in their cars or pay their bills.
This is why UNISON has led the “Pay up Now! – Scrap the pay cap” campaign – this is still top of UNISON’s agenda and more information will follow.
Here is to hoping we have a successful 2018, and I hope to see you at our AGM in March.
If you are reading this, work for the London Ambulance Service or are eligible to join, and are not yet a member of UNISON Join Today!
We are stronger together. We are all frontline.
Eddie Brand (Branch Secretary)