Yorkshire Ambulance Service ends voluntary recognition of Unite union

David Whiting, chief executive of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service

David Whiting, chief executive of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service

First published in News

Yorkshire Ambulance Service has come under fire for announcing it no longer recognises the country’s biggest union.

Unite has criticised the decision of Yorkshire Ambulance Service to formally end its voluntary recognition of the body, at a time when the Francis Report recommends a “culture of candour.”

The ambulance service said it recognises the importance and value of maintaining good relations with its staff and their recognised representatives. Unite the Union members can still be represented on individual matters.

David Whiting, chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We carefully reflected upon this difficult matter before advising Unite the Union of our decision to derecognise them. Unfortunately the working relationship with Unite the Union remains disappointing and we have not received a constructive contribution to the difficult decisions that the Trust has been required to make for the future, particularly as we seek to maintain high-quality care for patients against the realities of the tough economic climate.

“I would like to reassure members of the public that all our decisions are focused on continuing to deliver a high quality and responsive service to patients and this will always remain our top priority.”

The Francis Report was prepared by Robert Francis who has made a number of recommendations on the Mid Staffordshire scandal.

Unite said it was taking legal advice on the decision of the trust.

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “At a time when the Francis Report recommends a culture of candour focused on patient care and underpinned by law, it beggars belief that bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust have taken this action.

“They have derecognised Unite, as the trade union representing paramedics and other ambulance staff, for raising concerns about the proposed shake-up in ambulance services. Their attitude flies in the face of the findings of the Francis Report and smacks of bullying and gagging those who believe patients will be put at risk.”

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