Yorkshire Ambulance Service and union Unite call end to long-running dispute

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The two-year dispute between the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) and Unite the union has been resolved.

Unite has held a series of strikes since April 2013 claiming that new shift patterns could affect patient safety, while disputing YAS’s use of emergency care assistants who receive less trainings than paramedics.

Their disagreements were aired at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s health scrutiny board last month but a resolution has now been reached.

In a joint statement, the trust and Unite said: “Both parties are resolved to settle all outstanding issues and return immediately to a normalised working relationship. The priority of both YAS and Unite is to ensure the delivery of a first-class ambulance service for the people of Yorkshire and Humberside.”

Unite had earlier claimed that staff were being stopped from voicing concerns and that YAS’s response figures may have been manipulated to cover up its failures.

Amid the accusations and a breakdown in talks YAS officially ‘derecognised’ Unite, which represents around eight per cent of its workforce. The decision has now been reversed.

Both parties have said they “will now work together on all relevant issues to safeguard the interests and safety of patients”.

A planned inspection of YAS was undertaken by the Care Quality Commission last month after it emerged that the trust had failed to respond to 75 per cent of the most serious ‘red’ emergency calls within the national eight minute target during December.