NES / PTS Blog



Since my last posting we have gone through a General Election and once again The Conservatives are in Government and whatever your political affiliations or persuasion one thing is certain for all of us. Austerity and further cuts are still very much the buzzword of the day and hand in hand with that we can expect to see the continued privatisation of many Public Services including the large chunks of the NHS and the Ambulance sector.

Recently we have learned that another PTS service has been lost to a private provider. The Acute Neonatal Transfer Service (ANTS) contract based at the Rosie Hospital Addenbrookes, has been awarded to St Johns Ambulance Service. The contract is quite small and 8 members of staff will be affected but it is nevertheless another blow to the Trust and those that work on the contract. For staff that do not want to TUPE across to St Johns, Liz McEwan has PTS vacancies available and you should let her know you are interested as soon as possiible

The newly acquired PTS contract in West Essex went live on theMay 1st and I would like to welcome the staff that TUPE’d from Medical Services into the Trust and hope that you are now settled. It is a bit of an unknown quantity for Branch at the moment as the staff have been brought in under their existing Terms and conditions and are not on AFC and we are uncertain as to what those T&C’s are. I am hoping to be able to meet with you all in the near future and discuss any concerns and answer any questions that you may have.

I have been contacted by several PTS staff who have expressed concerns regarding issues in the workplace most of which can be put into one of two categories, adherence to policies and Health & Safety.

These issues include feeling pressured to drive and use vehicles with defects, Health & Safety advice or instructions from Unison being ignored,The meal break policy not being followed and the leave policy being overlooked especially in relation to Christmas leave applications.

When it comes to Vehicle defects, as a driver of a vehicle, you have responsibility for that vehicle whilst it is on the road and any defects that make it illegal or unroadworthy means that you should not drive it. It is your licence at risk. Likewise if a vehicle has a defect that does not make it illegal to drive but that could risk the H&S and wellbeing of a patient or anybody else that uses the vehicle, Don’t drive it.

I am hoping to work closely with Jeff Pittman, Branch H&S Officer in dealing with some of these issues and we could be coming to a station near you.

Meal breaks are always a contentious issue for all staff across the Trust and PTS is no different. The Trust actually gives longer breaks than are allowed by law but considering the workload and time pressures put upon us it is still a very small amount of time in which to have a break and those in control rooms can often forget how tiring it can be to drive for long distances on a shift often without time to stop for refreshments or a much needed toilet break. 

So when we have these pressures put upon us and the meal break policy is ignored it can lead to staff having a late break or no break at all and that is not acceptable. 

Please take a look at the policy, which can be found on the Trust intranet under the PTS tab, and ensure that it is being followed in your place of work. I have also designed a quick and simple Meal Break Survey for PTS staff and this will be available in a different posting. Please take the time to complete it, it is only 6 questions and will take a couple of minutes.

Again, I would like to appeal to anybody that is interested in becoming more active within UNISON to let your local Rep know and they will advise you of the steps you to take. 

Mike Hill

Branch NES Officer