‘Thousands of complaints’ about ambulance service in just 12 days

MORE than 2,300 people have complained about Yorkshire Ambulance Service to a whistle-blowing hotline in its first 12 days, providing evidence a union claims may form the basis for a charge of corporate manslaughter.

More than 2,300 people have complained about Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Unite claims.

Councillors meeting in Beverley were told two-thirds of the concerns raised with Unite, which was derecognised by YAS in 2013, were about unqualified staff, including pairs of emergency care assistants being sent to incidents.

Another 348 members of staff had also raised concerns, Unite claimed.

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Assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail of Unite, which represents eight per cent of YAS’s workforce, said they were taking affadavits and would be publishing a 1,000-page dossier next month, detailing the claims, including calls concerning children being downgraded to meet targets. She added: “Unite has attempted to raise issues around patient safety using normal procedures but we were gagged.”

YAS says claims they manipulate data are “wholly false.” Deputy chief executive Ian Brandwood - who revealed they are recruiting paramedics from Australia - said: “We have asked Unite to share with us any information about patient safety and they have consistently failed to do that.”

It comes as concerns mount about the number of ambulances queuing outside Hull Royal Infirmary, with as many as 16 waiting to drop off patients because of a lack of beds. At the weekend rugby player Adam Robson was left lying on a freezing pitch in Beverley with a broken leg for more than an hour before paramedics arrived.

YAS said they had been losing more than 110 hours a week - 200 hours one week - waiting to offload patients. Dr Julian Mark, from YAS, said resources were being stretched by a 10 per cent increase in “red” emergency calls from people with potentially life-threatening conditions. In their hardest week, which began December 22, 95 per cent of red calls locally were answered in just under 21 minutes. He said: “I am not happy with that, we need to improve, but it does demonstrate we don’t have a whole bunch of people waiting half an hour, an hour, an hour and a half.”