Ambulance staff in the district were yesterday given details of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s plan to change its A&E services.

The proposed changes, which the Trust says have been developed following consultation and negotiation with the recognised trade unions, UNISON and Unite, are aimed at ensuring the region’s ambulance service delivers the best possible clinical outcomes for patients and achieves a sustainable level of performance in response to emergencies and balances its budget.

The Trust’s plan contains a series of detailed changes, but mainly focuses on significantly increasing its number of qualified paramedics over the next five years and retaining a tier of paramedics with additional clinical skills.

In addition, the Trust says it plans to build upon its current clinical support worker arrangements by introducing a role, known as an emergency care assistant, to work alongside paramedics on ambulances. The Yorkshire Ambulance Service says they are trained to deliver an appropriate level of clinical support to their paramedic colleagues and to undertake emergency “blue light” response driving.

The trust maintains the proposals will ensure there will be no reduction in the overall number of staff working on the A&E emergency service and no compulsory redundancies.

Other elements include: pay protection arrangements to ensure no A&E staff have any reduction in their current level of pay over the next five years and a commitment to remain aligned to the national terms and conditions of employment for NHS staff.

David Whiting, chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “We have worked extremely hard to produce the right A&E workforce plan for the Trust over the next five years. This has involved detailed negotiations and consultation with trade union representatives, which has led to this improved final plan being put to our staff.

“Our absolute focus throughout this process has been to ensure that we continue to deliver a safe, responsive and high quality service to the people of Yorkshire over the coming years. We have also sought to ensure we protect the current employment and future career prospects of our A&E staff as much as we possibly can during these challenging economic times.”

The Trust will now await the final and formal response from its recognised trade unions to the proposed changes. If the changes are agreed, then the Trust will seek to implement them as quickly as possible.