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I am a paramedic on strike today. AMA

238 replies

ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 16:29

Hi from the freezing cold picket line. Any questions related to the strike, the current state of the NHS or general paramedicing feel free to ask.

Disclaimer: obviously answers are based on my own opinions and experiences. They may not be the same for other paramedics/EMTs or in other trusts.

OP posts:
Capri3 · 24/01/2023 09:40

ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 18:35

No one is saying it's a low wage, I'd say it's mid range. However, it's not in line with inflation and my cost of living is going up whereas my wages are not.

I am not qualified to give an answer about where the money should come from. I do think perhaps not giving MPs an 11% yearly pay rise and an unlimited budget to do up their free houses might be a starting point though.

MP’s got a 2.7% pay rise this year, and do not get an unlimited budget to do up their homes. Where on earth do you get your facts from?

whatyoulookingfor · 24/01/2023 09:53

ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 19:55

It's been designed and redesigned and redesigned again to be as risk averse as possible. @whatyoulookingfor will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly sure the only way a call handler can over-ride the system is to pass the call on to a clinician, which is how the 111 system works. And- this will shock you- there aren't enough clinicians in the control room to look at all the calls.

Exactly this, not enough clinicians to over ride the algorithm. I was once on a job for 4 hours waiting for a clinical call back so I could discharge a person on scene.... There was only one clinician for the whole service all night. In the end the patient kicked us out the house as he wanted to go to bed!

UniversalAunt · 24/01/2023 10:03

@ParamedicOnStrike I hope that you return to this AMA thread as you are engaging, honest & give useful insight into a complex situation.

The role of emergency/first response paramedic has expanded by skills & technologies, & I have always been impressed & grateful for the attendance to family & friends. The role of paramedic is the essential capillary/fingertip emergency response & I am somewhat gobsmacked that training bursaries are not available as is required for nurses.

You mentioned T&Cs in an earlier post, on top of your NHS pay by band what is your paid leave allowance & sick pay policy?

My understanding is that paramedic degree grads start on a higher banding (therefore better starting salary), have I got that right? Would they get the same leave & sick pay allowances?

GurlwiththeCurl · 24/01/2023 10:38

I’m a bit late in the day, but I want to thank you anyway. I have a set of chronic conditions and have been taken to hospital by ambulance several times. The last time was when I had a stroke. I am still here and able to function at all because of the amazing paramedics.
Thank you to all!

4thonthe4th · 24/01/2023 11:44

UniversalAunt · 24/01/2023 10:03

@ParamedicOnStrike I hope that you return to this AMA thread as you are engaging, honest & give useful insight into a complex situation.

The role of emergency/first response paramedic has expanded by skills & technologies, & I have always been impressed & grateful for the attendance to family & friends. The role of paramedic is the essential capillary/fingertip emergency response & I am somewhat gobsmacked that training bursaries are not available as is required for nurses.

You mentioned T&Cs in an earlier post, on top of your NHS pay by band what is your paid leave allowance & sick pay policy?

My understanding is that paramedic degree grads start on a higher banding (therefore better starting salary), have I got that right? Would they get the same leave & sick pay allowances?

Sick pay used to be 6 months full pay, 3 months half pay then nil pay after that. This was 2019 so may have changed.

ParamedicOnStrike · 24/01/2023 13:04

UniversalAunt · 24/01/2023 10:03

@ParamedicOnStrike I hope that you return to this AMA thread as you are engaging, honest & give useful insight into a complex situation.

The role of emergency/first response paramedic has expanded by skills & technologies, & I have always been impressed & grateful for the attendance to family & friends. The role of paramedic is the essential capillary/fingertip emergency response & I am somewhat gobsmacked that training bursaries are not available as is required for nurses.

You mentioned T&Cs in an earlier post, on top of your NHS pay by band what is your paid leave allowance & sick pay policy?

My understanding is that paramedic degree grads start on a higher banding (therefore better starting salary), have I got that right? Would they get the same leave & sick pay allowances?

Hello!

Your paid time off increases after every 5 years of service but starts at around 280 hours a year with bank Holidays added on as the year progresses- you get bank holiday hours added on as long as you're not on annual leave or off sick.

I'm afraid I don't know what the sick pay policy is off the top of my head, but I think its 6 months full pay. Mat leave is 8 weeks full, then down to half up to 9 months, then 3 months statutory.

No, Paramedic degree grads start at the bottom of Band 5, progressing to band 6 after 2 years. I became a paramedic after being an EMT (who are band 5) so I was already in the middle of Band 5 meaning I'm actually paid more than the uni grads. When I get to Band 6, I won't be at the bottom either.

OP posts:
Hellibore · 24/01/2023 20:44

Solidarity from those of us in the charity sector 💛 I wholeheartedly pray we get a change of government soon.

My Father is in his late 80's. Formerly very active in the trade union movement, is currently in hospital, possibly for the last time.

As well as being deeply sad, I have been SO frustrated this week by the failing NHS. But also massively moved by the effort I can see coming from good people performing their jobs the best they can within this broken system.

More power to you and your colleagues OP. I hope you get what you are asking for ✊🏿✊🏼✊✊🏾

OrlandointheWilderness · 25/01/2023 22:32

@RosesAndHellebores perhaps it would be worth considering the other angle? That caring, professional people feel so strongly that this is the only way forward they need to strike and sacrifice the pay?! The system is broken and people are dying because of it. When you go into a role like this you go in because you are (hopefully!) a compassionate individual who wants to care for people and make their lives just a little better. Seeing the situation is heartbreaking for some of us. It is for me and I'm only a second year student, god knows who awful the day to day reality is when you've been in for years.

RosesAndHellebores · 25/01/2023 22:37

@OrlandointheWilderness but the op had already told us that they won't lose any money because they'll be able to pick up an extra shift. That rather takes the sacrifice out of it and replaces it with political ideology.

The teachers I think do sacrifice but not nurses, paramedics, rail workers if they just pick up extra shifts. That isn't quite the same and it certainly isn't cricket.

OrlandointheWilderness · 25/01/2023 22:39

So what would you have them do? What would you do in their situation?

theyarereallytakingthepissnow · 25/01/2023 22:48

Full support from me

EricNorthmanYesPlease · 26/01/2023 23:33

ParamedicOnStrike · 23/01/2023 22:11

Ad I've said, I'm not a call handler so I'm not 100% sure how the system works at their end- most of my info is second hand- but it sounds like they didn't identify your DD as a child on the system.

Paramedics do do callbacks, but they are working in the control room. I'm not sure how many are there at any given time, but its not enough to call everyone back. The idea of doing phone triage while waiting is interesting but I don't think it would work for the following reasons:

  1. Paramedics who are going to the control room are given training in phone triage. It is surprisingly hard to do! So anyone who hasn't done a secondment in control wouldn't be qualified to do it.
  2. They would need a service computer with them.
  3. We would not be using a secure line and could be interrupted at any time, compromising patient confidentiality. The call would also not be able to be recorded which it is important to do for lots of reasons.
  4. Most Importantly- if we're waiting outside hospital we have our own patient to monitor and care for!


I can't properly comment on the call you mention, but on the face of it something has gone wrong there. A serious break counts as limb threatening and is something we (my direct colleagues) would definitely leave the picket line for. Possibly something went wrong with communication- although each strike has only lasted 12 hours and not every staff member is elligible or willimg to strike, so I'm not sure why he'd have been left for 48 hours- you may want to fact check the story there.

We are also not only responding to cat1 calls, we are responding to any call that has life ot limb implications. For example, cardiac chest pain is a cat2 and would definitely qualify for a request to leave the picket line.

Thank you for responding so thoroughly.
That all makes sense.
I do fully support the strikes by the way. Im from a Long line of NHS workers.

I did fact check the poor man waiting 48 hours. My brother delivered a parcel to his home on the saturday afternoon and he was still there Monday morning. My brother offered to put him in the back of the van but the family had been told not to move him. It must have been a system error somewhere.

ParamedicOnStrike · 27/01/2023 09:53

RosesAndHellebores · 25/01/2023 22:37

@OrlandointheWilderness but the op had already told us that they won't lose any money because they'll be able to pick up an extra shift. That rather takes the sacrifice out of it and replaces it with political ideology.

The teachers I think do sacrifice but not nurses, paramedics, rail workers if they just pick up extra shifts. That isn't quite the same and it certainly isn't cricket.

I certainly didn't say we won't be losing any money. I said that I PERSONALLY will pick up an overtime shift. I am in the lucky position of being able to do so as I don't have any childcare issues or other clashing responsibilities. Plenty of my colleagues aren't able to do overtime at all and will just lose the days pay.

Also, my overtime won't be paid until 6 weeks later, so I will still feel the loss of that shift.

Please do not confuse planning ahead to compensate with not making any sacrifices or with making a token stand due to misplaced political ideology. I'm sorry, but you are 100% wrong.

OP posts:
ParamedicOnStrike · 10/02/2023 14:58

Hi all. I'm back on the picket line today! Any more questions or comments or even just a hello to me and my colleagues are welcome 😊

OP posts:
SoCunningYouCanStickATailOnItAndCallItAFox · 10/02/2023 15:00

Keep going! 🙌

Nimbostratus100 · 10/02/2023 15:05

all the best to you all xx

cancer patient here, 100% behind you

70Cats · 10/02/2023 16:02

Total support for you all. Thank you for doing this for us.

PaperwhiteTheGhost · 10/02/2023 19:26

Thank you!

SherbetDips · 12/02/2023 08:54

Hopefully no one died while you were freezing your arse off and posting on social media..

ChungusBoi · 12/02/2023 08:58

Well done, keep going 🥰

Bunnyfuller · 12/02/2023 09:23

Solidarity from the Police. We’re not allowed to strike (Rishi would like that for everyone!)

thanks for the fast ride to sort my heart attack out. A few weeks after that I was taken back in with unstable angina, and the paramedic said I was her most ‘valid’ ambulance call in 6 months, so so many people abusing them.

Stay warm!

ParamedicOnStrike · 12/02/2023 11:40

SherbetDips · 12/02/2023 08:54

Hopefully no one died while you were freezing your arse off and posting on social media..

Hi there

It wasn't actually that cold this time.

No, there have been no extra deaths because of strike action. In fact, our response times to emergency calls has been shown to improve during the strikes. The extra deaths have actually been caused by us being delayed at hospitals, which is one of the reasons for the strike.

During the strike, we provide life and limb response, which means that anyone who genuinely needs us gets us. We do this in several ways

  1. Not everyone strikes. At the moment, only the bigger union Unison is striking, so staff in our other union (GMB) are not involved in the strike. Not everyone is even in a union- and some people in Unison choose not to strike.

  2. Senior managers are not involved in the strikes and many of them are paramedics and EMTs who are able to crew ambulances to provide cover.

  3. We are sent uncovered emergency calls to the picket line and take it in turns to leave the picket line to respond.

    Believe it or not, we genuinely care about our patients and have taken steps to ensure that we still provide life saving cover.
OP posts:
ParamedicOnStrike · 12/02/2023 11:42

Bunnyfuller · 12/02/2023 09:23

Solidarity from the Police. We’re not allowed to strike (Rishi would like that for everyone!)

thanks for the fast ride to sort my heart attack out. A few weeks after that I was taken back in with unstable angina, and the paramedic said I was her most ‘valid’ ambulance call in 6 months, so so many people abusing them.

Stay warm!

I didn't know you're not allowed to strike! That's outrageous!!!

Hope you're on the mend now, angina is scary!

OP posts:
ChungusBoi · 12/02/2023 11:45

Bunnyfuller · 12/02/2023 09:23

Solidarity from the Police. We’re not allowed to strike (Rishi would like that for everyone!)

thanks for the fast ride to sort my heart attack out. A few weeks after that I was taken back in with unstable angina, and the paramedic said I was her most ‘valid’ ambulance call in 6 months, so so many people abusing them.

Stay warm!

I hope you are well on the road to recovery now. I don’t wish to derail but what are conditions like for you in the police at the moment? Do you feel you need to strike but can’t?

SherbetDips · 12/02/2023 11:58

@ParamedicOnStrike Maybe hop off social medial and go back to work.

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