UNISON has welcomed a new job profile for ambulance paramedics, which recognises the skills and responsibilities they have acquired as the job has developed over the past decade.
UNISON national officer Alan Lofthouse welcomed the publication of the new profile, at Band 6 in the Agenda for Change pay spine, as “an important first step towards recognition of the changes to the role”.
The new profile was published by the NHS Staff Council following two years of negotiations, and will be available for use in all four UK countries.
In England, it forms part of a package which also includes the development of a “newly qualified paramedic“ role as part of NHS England’s urgent and emergency care review.
The next steps include sign up to the final agreement by all parties and local job matching exercises between trust and unions to evaluate their paramedic roles,” said Mr Lofthouse
He warned that “we cannot guarantee that every paramedic will be a Band 6, because job evaluation is a local process, but we have agreed that the effective date of Band 6 for pay purposes will be 31 December 2016.”
UNISON will also use its influence and lobby for the cost of moving paramedics to the profile will be met nationally and not have to be born by individual ambulance trusts.
UNISON will also work with employers and sister unions over the next two years on an action plan to improve ambulance workers’ health, safety and wellbeing.
Separate discussions will take place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about its implementation.
“UNISON is proud to represent paramedics across the UK and knows how much harder the job is getting as the pressures on them increase,” said Mr Lofthouse.
He said that the new profile was achieved by “unions working together with employers to address serious problems with retaining paramedics.
“It is a good start towards ensuring that they are properly rewarded for the job they do and that we make the profession attractive for the future.”