Ambulance strikes are about more than pay

No amount of PR from NHS England and the DHSC can hide the fact that the industrial disputes hitting the health service are about more than just pay. New research focusing on the ambulance sector – set to be hit by strike action early next month – offers up damning evidence of workforce planning and capital investment failures that directly impact on patient safety every day.

This week’s Observer carried an analysis based on FoI requests which revealed that ambulance trusts across England were experiencing high levels of staff turnover, particularly in the south, as paramedics and others increasingly leave for less stressful and better paid jobs.

The newspaper found that turnover rates at South Central Ambulance Service were particularly bad – 20 per cent for advanced paramedics, more than 40 per cent for dispatchers, 55 per cent for assistant dispatchers, and as high as 80 per cent for emergency call-takers and NHS 111 healthcare advisers – and that sickness absence rates were higher than before the pandemic.

Full story in The Lowdown, 25 April 2023