Government Aid Recruitment And Retention Of LAS Staff

Right, a bit of a moan.

When us ambulance people signed up for Agenda for Change, we realised that while we would be taking a cut in our basic pay, the deficit would be made up by our 'unsocial hours' payments.

It works like this – I am paid a basic wage. If I work 'unsocial hours' then I get paid more for those hours. 'Unsocial hours' are currently between 7pm and 7am in the morning.

The government is changing the boundaries of the unsocial hours to 8pm to 6am. That's two hours less a day.

I'm hoping that our pay will remain protected (i.e. not drop below the amount I was getting paid before Agenda for change started).

Secondly, more crap from the government. We, and other healthcare workers are going to get a pay rise pegged at 1.5% as opposed to the rate of inflation which is 3.6%. I'm looking forward to that extra 2p per hour given that our role keeps expanding.

Is it any wonder that workers keep leaving the NHS?

Finally, the London Ambulance Service ended up financially 'in the black'. So our budget is being cut by £3 million and is being given to a failing department. This has meant a reduction in overtime, which again has reduced some people's take-home pay. Given that our trainees are paid 75% of the basic wage and many of them rely on the overtime, now there isn't enough to go around. While manning is at an all time high, there are plenty of rumours that large numbers of ambulances are going un-resourced*.

So we are being 'punished' for saving money, we are going to get paid less and our pay-rise is lower than inflation.

If it wasn't for the government it'd be a nice job.

I'm glad I'm not the boss of the LAS.

Maybe Dr. Rant has the right idea.

*I was told off for not being politically correct when calling the staffing of motors 'manning', hence 'resourced'.

30 thoughts on “Government Aid Recruitment And Retention Of LAS Staff”

  1. That's where the bastards have Tom & Co by the short 'n' curlies…..My mum was a COHSE shop steward in the 70s/80s and still to this day practises in Primary Mental Healthcare (and not in the Private sector either) and is still livid at how healthcare professionals across the board (except, of course, The Board) are treated. The imposition of regional health authorities only made things worse – and to cap it all, the proposed changes to the 'system' make a two-tier system look like luxury!

    Caring though doesn't pay the bills – and the exodus continues – and yet more trainees drop out cos they can't afford to stay in – and the bills go up cos the UK has to recruit from abroad – and all that fucking stinks too………..

    *sigh* Revolution, anyone?

  2. Well, I think that's just silly. Here in the US, there has been a strong and consistent push for 'combination' departments. It's a fact that the number of fires are down. It makes sense in smaller communities or cities where you couldn't justify having a full time staff to do one or the other (Fire/EMS), but can do so when the roles are combined. Besides, there's a LOT more to being a Firefighter than just holding the end of a hose and squirting water.

  3. Sadly this seems to be the case the world over. You could say that it is just the case that Governments take advantage of people who love to do what they do, and aren't in it for the money. Even in the US where people pay a fortune for healthcare, Emergency Services workers are still paid crap.Unfortunately, the general public has a skewed version of what's important. Ask them to pay a few hundred (dollars/pounds) each a year extra so that they can have fairly paid people who may one day save their lives, and they'd probably say no. That big screen TV is a much higher priority.That's why so many Firefighters and EMTs work more than one job, just to pay the mortgage.

  4. It's a bit unfair to say that most people wouldn't pay and they'd rather have a big screen tele. Most people probably would pay if they could be assured that the money was actually going to end up in EMTs and nurses pockets. More often than not it's diverted to buying another really expensive machine that goes “ping” or just disappears altogether in red tape.

  5. (Ciaran, just a footnote: I don't know how they figure inflation on the UK side of the water. Here they're big on something called “core” inflation that discounts goods whose prices fluctuate a lot. That's food and energy. Sky high oil prices get discounted because “everyone knows” they'll fluctuate right back down again. When they do, the savings don't necessarily get passed through instantly. When they don't, it's not like you can avoid paying for it. So inflation-adjusted wages or pensions get adjusted to some mythical number that doesn't actually reflect what you or I would call inflation.)

  6. I'd prefer to take 30 (or is it 35?) away from teenagers doing A-levels and put it into the wages of the Emergency Services.Sadly I feel that no matter how much money there is, and no matter how it is raised, it is unlikely to make the wages of EMTs go up much. Ask the managers to pay a few hundred pounds each year extra to raise to a fair level the wages of people who may one day save their lives, and they'd probably say no. Rolling out a new logo is a much higher priority.

  7. You can't get 100% out of every penny, I see as much waste in large private sector organisations as I do in the public sector. Whenever I see this in the press it sounds like an excuse to me.

  8. While I don't for one moment agree with this pitiful rise – if I have to be scraped up of the road I would prefer the person doing it to feel loved and rewarded by their employer – I did notice that the NHS statement referred to what used to be called in the good old days 'spine points' which you didn't. Is this because as with many departments/agencies LAS have abolished annual increments or because as an experienced member of staff you've reached the pay ceiling and are due to be royally f***ed by your employer for being just too damn useful?Don't take it lying down – a midwife wouldn't!

  9. Am trying to find out exactly when this will come into force and if there is any way of opposing it. The best i can find is a statement from the sub group for unsocial hours payments that states they have “reluctantly concluded that implementation of a new system of payment in October 06 will not be possible” (love the inclusion of the word reluctantly) and goes onto say “most practicable implementation date will be April 07)”I am hoping this is right.

    Am also trying to find out exactly who decided that beginning work at 6am and working up til 8pm is not unsocial

  10. Well that's lovely annoying.I now have Uniform. I don't like the highness of the Trousers. Dear.Me. Beggars cannot be choosers

    Medical on Monday =]

  11. It's disgusting…it's exactly the same in GWAS. Nearly no overtime, penny pinching, short changing staff … the list is endless.Would love to see the government and their officials get this miserly rate and see how they like it.

    A4C has been the biggest con I have ever seen.

  12. Tom – here's an idea……..Instead of racing through packed streets to hit an 8 minutes target, do this;Get there in 7m 59s, wait two seconds (is it going to make that much of an impact??), then your cases are “failures” under the guidelines you've written about previously.That way your “failings” should mean that the 3M lost to another place will come back your way. Tadaa!On that pay “rise” issue – one has to wonder sometimes how people have the sheer audacity to 'reward' people working under some of the toughest conditions with a pay rise BELOW the rate of inflation – they might as well say, “Here! We'll give you a little bit of extra cash so you're not quite as badly off due to the rising cost of living than if we hadn't given you it! Good doggy. Roll over.”/grumpy mood

  13. the difference being that private sector organisations raise their own money, decide for themselves how much is profit and how much is ploughed into the business, and if they go bankrupt then they carry the can and the business is dissolved.The NHS on the other hand gets its money from the government, eg from taxes, and is a vital service that CANNOT be allowed to dissolve. The person responsible for the mess cannot simply say “oops, made mistakes, going to cut our losses, make all our staff redundant, sell off the assets and call it a day for the business”.

    So management spend and waste money like they're private sector managers with a big profit to disperse, when in fact they are in debt and should be looking at realistic ways to save.

    I haven't said this well I know.

  14. but you do roll over…this is the thing about vocational work, I guess.

    If you guys didn't care about your work, then at the point “cost of living” overtakes “pay”, you'd all just quit and find different jobs.

    But you do care, and that means that Tony and Patricia can keep on relying on you to turn up no matter what they do to you.

    And it fucking stinks.

  15. I don't understand, in theory their autonomy and profit motivation should make them more efficient and waste less, shouldn't it?

  16. Re: wage protection and overtime – two subjects in this posting. I don't know about the LAS, but my outfit has a neat little trick which brings the two together. “With the one hand she giveth, and with the other taketh away.”When our A4C conditions were published, we protectees were warned that we would have to repay protected amounts via overtime earnings. Our masters felt that this was only right and fair; the wage slaves weren't asked. Thus, Line 4 of the “Pay and Allowances” side of my current pay chit reads “PROTECTION PAYMENT 19.59”, whilst Line 7 reads “PROT. OF PAY ALLOWANCE -19.59”. (A negative allowance – there's a convoluted concept!). My hourly rate is 10.0902, so at time-and-a-half, this deduction represents only 1hr 18mins of work; I'm therefore not unduly fussed by the sums involved. What boggles me slightly (and depresses me a lot), though, is the notion that people must exist who believe that a miserly, petty-minded, little bit of financial bottom feeding such as this is a worthy use human ingenuity.

    Ebenezer Scrooge is alive, thriving, and working for the NHS!

    On the other hand, if future alterations to A4C result in the assignment of large protected sums to significant numbers of staff, then this mean little scam could represent an insidious, serious, and downright nasty, threat to a lot of wage packets.

    Keep smiling!

  17. I guess a lot of it depends upon who is perceived to be the “winner” in the business. Private investors are, by necessity, selfish creatures. No profit = no motivation to invest. When it's not “your money” where's the motivation to make it work properly?That's how I see it anyway…….essential services like health, transportation, education, emergency services and security should NEVER be in the hands of “private investment”, since by definition the money which is being “invested” in these services is OURS! Our governments should be the ones whom we can hold accountable when these services fail to deliver what is required of them (something which I find highly ironic since people like Tom constantly battle to meet targets and save lives, whilst their budgets are cut/raised/cut/raised at a whim based on performance indicators which do not reflect reality – the ambulance service delivers – against seemingly insurmountable odds – and is treated like crap…..then the nursing services do their best to deliver and are also treated like crap – and senior managers almost gleefully sow seeds of conflict between them as they struggle for recognition and resources – the old, classic divide and rule concept so successfully implemented under two decades of Thatcherism….)

  18. It should make them more inclined to be efficient and waste less when times are lean. If a business is only just breaking even then yes, they will make savings where they can to free up money for either bonuses or for investment in the business.But if a business is successful, and it looks at its profits, and it decides there's enough money there to give everyone a bonus, plough enough money back into the business for growth and development for the upcoming year, and still piss several hundred thousand pounds on redecorating their office block, that's what they do.

    In the same way a private individual might look at their monthly income, set aside what they need for rent and bills, put another bit aside for food and then split the rest between savings and “money for going out with”.

    The NHS on the other hand doesn't have a profit, it has a loss. No-one has looked at the NHS books and gone “well, we've paid everyone we need to pay, bought everything we need to buy, put extra funds in the areas that need/warrant extra funding (like, um, medical staff getting a living wage) and wow, there's still LOADS of money left over!”. And if they have, it's some bloody strange accounting.

  19. the ones who approve these half-cocked policies, like the blessed Patricia?Probably rolling in it, and with job security (look at Prescott, screwed up big time and still on the payroll albeit with “adjusted” work role), and the most secure job-based pensions in the country.

    I daresay civil servants' pay scales are much like any others, those at the shitty end of the work also get the least reward.

  20. But you forget, it may only be around 10 an hour for you…multiply that for all the staff that are in your circumstances.I expect 1000 comes in handy when they are planning the catering arrangements for managers (who have been laid off by the restructuring) leaving do's. You know the ones where none of the road staff are invited, where they bring over the left over food down to the crew room on open trays!? Yes that's the one…when you've not been back to station for 5 or 6 hours…then you get this wonderful gift from upstairs…yep lovely dried, stale fishpaste sandwiches!

    Oh well!

  21. I think we're barking up completely different tangents here!What I mean is, the NHS needs is more money but no one wants to pay tax, I think there should be more of a sense of proportion as regards what can realistically be done with X money.

  22. Am I missing something here? The average payrise for ambulance officers from A4C (taking account of unsocial hours pay) was between 16 and 25%. How can that be a bad deal????

  23. One of the things I have learned since I started reading this blog is this; It doesnt matter if you have free healthcare (tax funded) or private health insurance pay system. It doesnt matter if you work for the government or a private ambulance service. It doesnt matter if you work in the UK, US, or anywhere else, EMS is not paid and never will be paid what we deserve and unfortunately many are barely paid enough to make ends meet. (With the exception of that rare true volunteer that considers helping others is payment enough)With the public mindset that it is OK for grown men playing a childs game can be paid the equivalent of the GNP of a small country while at the same time paying the people that daily protect our lives and property (Police, Fire EMS) poverty wages it is going to be a long time before any significant changes occur in our pay scales.

    Fortunately for society there is enough of us that consider the enjoyment of what we do is enough to offset the poor wages and benefits. There is always going to be turn over in our profession simply because it is not a job for everyone. Toms writing is a good representation of what it is like everywhere. You have to have something special in you (some may call it a defect) to come back day after day for a long time to do this job. Granted, more money would be great and may slow the turn over but turn over will happen.


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