999 staff to New York

A GROUP of trainee ambulance staff from Hull are to test their skills in some of the most demanding circumstances in the world – on the streets of New York.

Exchange trip takes

Eight students completing an International Studies Course at Hull Trade Union Studies Centre will travel to America tomorrow for the six-day exchange trip.

As well as taking part in lessons at City University, the Unison representatives hope to spend shifts with fire and ambulance personnel when they will discover how working practices have changed since the September 11 terrorist attack.

Ray Gray, regional trade union official for Unison, said: "This is the first course of its kind. It's creating a lot of interest within the TUC. We are at the forefront of something which will most certainly develop.

"The stewards are getting really excited about the trip and have put in a lot of work to make it a success."

Hull Trade Union Studies Centre, which was relaunched in new premises as part of East Riding College in 2001, teamed up with Unison, the TUC and Tees, East and North Yorkshire Ambulance Service (TENYAS) to create this opportunity to gain first hand experience of New York's emergency services.

Not only will they be comparing the roles, responsibility and remuneration of the emergency health service in New York with the UK, but also the union organisations and how they work. A report will be written about the outcome of the trip, which is being paid for by Unison.

The TENYAS Unison representatives going to America are Hull paramedics Tim Butterill and Bob Keane; Scarborough paramedic Julie Clayton; York paramedic Glen Gears; Mandie Dewick, a Hull-based call handler for NHS Direct; Candy Downton, an ambulance care assistant in Hull; emergency medical technician Steve Forsyth, who is the full-time branch secretary; and paramedic Jackie Bell, based at Wakefield.

American students will visit England in May when they will gain an insight into the work of TENYAS and trade union activities.