Having been live for a little over three months the Patient Transport Service Meal Break Survey has now been closed. Just under 150 of you responded and the results are very revealing, if not surprising.
The results full report can be found by clicking the link
Following a change to the Meal Break arrangements in 2011 PTS crews are no longer eligible to claim certain payments that are, available to staff working on the Emergency side of the service. Whether you work for Frontline or PTS you are Operational road staff employed by the same employer and should therefore be treated equally. The current arrangements are, in my opinion, unfair and have created a two tier system that is detrimental to PTS crews who, frequently, either have late meal breaks or have no meal break at all during their shift. This has been evidenced in the results of the survey and further supported by the amount of phone calls and emails I have received in relation to this matter.
The main differences in the arrangements are as follows
For a Late Meal Break that is taken outside of a specified "window" but taken at somepoint within a shift PTS are not eligible for any payment but Frontline crews receive a payment
For a missed meal break, where no break is taken at all during the shift, PTS crews are eligible for a payment. Frontline crews are eligible for a payment PLUS 30 minutes In Lieu
These issues were the main premise for the survey and the motion to have the PTS Meal Break arrangements reviewed have the support of Branch. I will keep you updated on the outcome.
Other questions in the survey were based on further aspects of the Meal Break Arrangements and the adherence to them. It was disappointing and frustrating to discover that the survey revealed that in many instances the arrangements are being deliberately ignored, as are protests of crews who wish to take their meal breaks within the context of the arrangement.
As PTS Crews your meal break should be allocated at the start of your shift, this can be done by directly communicating with control, or it should be already scheduled into your planned work.
Your meal break SHOULD be taken within your meal break window or at the earliest opportunity if that window has passed. Do not let yourself be persuaded to do "one more job"
Once stood down for your meal break you should be sent to the nearest Trust ambulance station where you are able to make full use of all the facilities including rest rooms, crew rooms and kitchen areas. Your break should not commence until you are at station. If the station you attend meets the criteria, you will also be eligible for an out of area payment.
If you are having issues over your meal breaks or feel that the arrangements are not being adhered to please seek advice from one of your Reps.