Analysis: ‘It’s about having properly managed rest periods’

ALAN, not his real name, has been a paramedic in the north of Scotland with more than 15 years’ service.“This is long and complicated story and it goes back to the agenda for change coming in.

“We were kind of backed into a corner to have a reduced working week. Before agenda for change came in, we got managed rest periods but they then used our rest periods to reduce our working week to 37.5 hours week.

“Traditionally we had always been available for emergency calls and we would have managed rest periods.

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“After agenda for change they were paying £4.80 a week to people who accepted being disturbed during their rest period.

“But I never accepted it along with the majority of staff in Scotland who rejected the annual £250 payment.

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“After the changes came into force, we knew that something would go wrong when we were on undisturbable rest periods.

“In my opinion, the ambulance service should be properly funded and properly resourced and we should have ambulances available to answer calls as quickly as possible.

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“The offer they made will completely buy out our rest periods for the rest of our careers and that’s not acceptable.

“We have always said it is not about money – it’s about having managed rest periods and a properly resourced and a funded ambulance service. Forcing us to be available and taking the choice away from us is not acceptable.

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“The easy solution to this, as far as I’m concerned, is to put us back on a 40-hour week – going back to where we were before when they managed our rest periods.

“We don’t want £100 for answering a call.

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“I want my rest periods but I kind of understand that somewhere along the line I am not going to get them.