Emergency control room mergers are only about cost-cutting, says UNISON

Government plans, which could see the merger of the control rooms that take 999 calls for the three emergency services in England, are purely and simply about cutting costs and will do nothing to improve services to the public, says UNISON today (Tuesday).

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “The last thing that the dedicated staff who work in our ambulance, police and fire and rescue services need is yet another reorganisation.

“Ministers can say that it’s all about closer working, but these plans are simply about giving the government cover for further damaging cuts to frontline services.

“The needs, skills and knowledge of the three emergency services are very different and any moves to merge control rooms, or other functions, will be opposed, because of the pressure it will put on already overstretched emergency workers.

“The government’s own taskforce* looking at emergency service collaboration was unable to provide any hard evidence that any change would actually save money or improve services, but still ministers are ploughing ahead.

“Before embarking on yet another ill-thought out scheme, ministers’ time would be better spent working out how to ensure that the ambulance service is better integrated with A&E departments, NHS 111 and other parts of the health service, and undertaking a proper review of police collaboration so far.”

Notes to editors:
*The emergency services collaboration working party was set up with government support in September 2014. In 2015, it published a report entitled Research into Emergency Services.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk
Alan Weaver T: 020 7121 5555 M: 07939 143310 E: a.weaver@unison.co.uk
Fatima Ayad T: 020 7121 5255 M: 07508 080383 E: f.ayad@unison.co.uk