Ambulance staff across Yorkshire could decide to strike over proposals that a union says could see paramedics working long hours without sufficient meal breaks.

Unite will ballot its 450 members at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust for strike action over the introduction of the new shift patterns, scheduled to start next month.

The union said it had not been consulted on the proposals, which it claims will impact on patient safety and lead to an overtired workforce.

Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer for Yorkshire, said: “These changes could affect members’ ability to do their jobs, helping people in distress. I think the people of Yorkshire will find this completely unacceptable.”

In response, David Whiting, chief executive for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We refute the latest misleading and factually incorrect claims being made around shift patterns.

“Staff welfare is a key priority for the Trust and whilst we have to ensure our staff are available to respond to emergencies, we balance this with adequate rest breaks.”