Thursday, 23 April 2015

Campaign Update: Contact with the College of Paramedics


The strength of feeling among operational ambulance staff that has been made evident by the Edmund Daly case has been polarising. It is painfully clear that the precedent the case sets applies further intolerable pressure on front line clinicians and that it desperately needed to be addressed.

Annelies van Wamel and I have discussed the many options, whom to approach and what to steps to take next. We had one overriding tenet - we need to approach the problem positively and professionally. As paramedics, it is vital that we seek unity and work toward a resolution in a manner befitting our station. There is little to be gained from vilifying individuals or trying to kick down fortified doors and there is far more to be gained by getting appropriate organisations and individuals on side. Although many intense emotions are shared by us, we feel that the best results can be obtained by playing the game by the rules given and change them in the process to our benefit.

Letter to the College of Paramedics
Already, our efforts have borne some fruit. A letter, written by Annelies, was sent to the Chair of the College of Paramedics (CoP), Professor Andy Newton, last Monday (see image to the right for the full letter). Today, the Executive Director of the CoP, Gerry Egan, contacted Annelies to have a chat about the letter and its contents.

Encouragingly, the overall message was a supportive and positive one; the letter was deemed appropriate and relevant to the profession and, consequently, to the CoP. As a result of the nature of the CoP (they are not a trade union therefore they cannot represent or intervene in individual cases like Ed Daly’s), they are seeking other ways to influence employers. Gerry mentioned the difference in fatigue management between Scottish and English Ambulance Trusts. Although we have not seen it, there seems to be a Fatigue Policy in Scotland which is applied when [on-call] staff are run beyond their capabilities (view the Scottish Fatigue policy document here). It was developed to distinguish between ‘sickness’ and fatigue and has driven down sickness levels among Scottish Ambulance staff since. It would be very helpful if a reader of this blog with access to that policy could forward it to us!

The CoP is actively seeking to get a copy of this policy and, after scrutiny, potentially include it in its newly established Library of Best Practice Documents. In its desire to help influence the working conditions for paramedics, the CoP has also sought contact with Unison.

Although it is still early stages and the CoP has not been able to issue clear guidance or advice just yet, we think this is a positive step and we will be following it up in the next few weeks.

We have also been in contact with various other parties, including the LAS, so it is clear that our concerns are far-reaching and noted. I am hoping to arrange an audience with many of those parties in order to gain more clarity and further our cause.

We will continue to push forward and keep everyone updated on any new developments. Thank you all for your continued support.

3 comments:

  1. There is one very stark issue involving the case against this particular paramedic. He did not attend his hearing. Therefore he was unable to put across the strongest defence possible. I have no doubt that matters would have turned out differently had he attended, but he was probably so fed up he washed his hands of the whole situation and has retired or gone to do something that is not likely to lead to a complete breakdown in his health. I intervened in an old friend who was going to voluntarily de-register himself following a complaint which he thought was going to lead to him being struck off. He was wrong, and the reason he wasn't going to fight it was he had no fight left in him. His case turned out very differently to that of his crew mate. A one year conditions of practice which comprised a reflective practice essay and attendance at an ALS course as he accepted that there was some fault, but not as much as had been alleged. He's now on £35 an hour doing nice, high class private work away from the 999 side of things. It is always worth fighting the HCPC. There has always been a disproportionate number of paramedics that end up before the HCPC in comparison to other professions because they are truly the front line. On the other hand, the NMC and the GMC are formulated much more professionally and strike offs are not as common as with the HCPC. Without a robust defence, the HCPC like to play god and are highly likely to strike off someone who does not attend to defend themselves.

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  2. Sorry, but I think you are approaching this the wrong way. Ed Daly was sacked by the LAS over a year ago. This situation requires a legal ruling, has anybody contacted him regarding taking this case to an Industrial Tribunal. No professional driver is allowed to drive for more the five hours without a break and I believe his sacking was unlawful and the LAS decision would not be upheld in a court of law. Mr Daly would then entitled to compensation for lack of earnings etc. It would then be possible to take action against the LAS and the HCPC. Apparently GMB represented him, they must be extremely embarassed by what has happened and perhaps they should be contacted and allowed to correct their failings!

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  3. Sadly Steve, you are wrong on all counts I am afraid. There is a three month limitation from the date of dismissal until the commencement of employment tribunal proceedings. Secondly, as the ambulance service is classed as an emergency service (contrary to the notion going round and all sorts of petitions being raised that it is "merely" an essential service) then they are exempt from both the working time directive and the drivers hours regulations otherwise the heavier ambulances would be required to have a tachograph fitted. The only option available to Mr Daly at this time - and time is running out, is to appeal the decision of the HCPC to the High Court.

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