A major shake-up of ambulance service staff in Yorkshire has been announced.
Under the plan, new emergency care assistants will work alongside paramedics on ambulances and will be trained to drive ambulances responding to emergency 999 calls.
The pay of accident and emergency staff would be protected for five years, bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said.
Managers said the changes would enable the trust to balance its books, deliver the best service for patients and achieve sustainable response times.
David Whiting, chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “We have worked extremely hard to produce the right A&E workforce plan for the trust over the next five years.
“This has involved detailed negotiations and consultation with trade union representatives, which has led to this improved final plan being put to our staff.”
The plan, which has been outlined to staff, involves increasing the number of qualified paramedics over the next five years.
The role of emergency care assistants, which the trust said had been used for several years in other ambulance services, will be introduced.
Ambulance bosses said there would be no reduction in the overall number of staff and no compulsory redundancies.
They also said there would be “fully-funded training opportunities” for staff to progress to more senior roles and give existing workers the chance to become paramedics.
Mr Whiting added: “Our absolute focus throughout this process has been to ensure that we continue to deliver a safe, responsive and high quality service to the people of Yorkshire over the coming years.
“We have also sought to ensure we protect the current employment and future career prospects of our A&E staff as much as we possibly can during these challenging economic times.”
He said the plan had been developed with input from unions and they would now be invited to respond formally.