WORKFORCE: The union Unite has complained about service changes planned by Yorkshire Ambulance Service Trust.

Unite said the trust proposed to save £46m over five years by introducing emergency care assistants to work alongside paramedics.

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “Currently, paramedics undergo a two-year degree course to equip them with the correct skills to respond to patients. The new proposed emergency care assistant role will be responding to emergencies with only six weeks training.

“This could lead to situations, such as multiple car crashes and house fires, when the emergency care assistants won’t have the necessary skills to support the paramedics.

“Our biggest concern is about patient care. Members of the public will have a decreased level of clinical response with overworked staff whose morale has been badly hit by this misguided de-skilling plan.”