Unite union launches Yorkshire Ambulance Service whistleblowing website

A union representing ambulance workers has launched a whistleblowing website for people to report concerns over patient safety.

The Unite union claims lives are being put at risk because Yorkshire Ambulance Service is sending semi-skilled care assistants to deal with 999 call outs.

It has launched a secure website for staff and patients to anonymously report their concerns

But bosses at the ambulance service have accused Unite of making misleading claims.

Unite has been in a bitter dispute with Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust after being de-recognised for negotiations on behalf of its members in February 2013.

A string of strikes has been held by the union, which claims cuts to frontline services are harming patient safety.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Patient safety must come first and the public must have the right to blow the whistle if they feel this is being compromised.

“We are urging the public and staff to use our secure and confidential website if they believe they have issues of concern about Yorkshire Ambulance Service.”

Ian Brandwood, executive director of people and engagement at the ambulance service, said there was already a whislteblowing policy for staff to report concerns in confidence.

He said: “We strongly refute the misleading claims Unite has made around patient safety, the role of emergency care assistants, who do not go out without qualified paramedics, and the trust’s longer-term plans.

“Despite Unite’s campaign against us we have tried to work with them to ensure we have a better relationship, yet they are failing to deliver on commitments they have made, and have consistently ignored calls to meet with us.

“We have also regularly asked Unite to raise their specific concerns with us and again they have failed to do so.”