Press Statement Issued jointly on behalf of NIAS Trust and Trade Unions

Ref: Industrial Action 13 March 2015

  The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been advised by Trade Unions of the intention of their members to strike on Friday 13 th March. The Trust recognises and respects the right of staff to participate in Industrial Action alongside the need to engage with Trade Unions to maintain patient safety and emergency services.

Discussions with Regional representatives had resulted in an agreed protocol whereby gaps in cover for emergency services and activities would be further discussed with local Trade Union representatives.

Following productive discussions today with local Trade Union representatives where the Trust has been informed that staff will either,

•  exercise their right to completely withdraw their services for full or part of the day or

•  staff may report for duty and only respond to Category A (potentially life threatening) calls. (Where possible staff who wish to respond from a picket line will be facilitated.),

a joint Management and Trade Union statement has been issued to staff highlighting progress that has been made during the discussions.

This current position protects response to the most seriously ill, potentially life-threatening patients, however, it represents removal of the capacity of the ambulance service to respond to and transport to hospital urgent but not immediately life-threatening patients, which accounts for 60% of 999 calls.

In relation to non-emergency work, NIAS has identified areas of work which would still be considered clinically critical including palliative care patients, oncology patients, renal patients and paediatric patients, towards which PCS resources will be directed as appropriate. The Trust must now cancel all other PCS activity on the day of the strike and patients will be informed accordingly.

Ambulance control staff are also involved in the strike action and this may impact on the speed at which calls to the Control centre are answered.

NIAS and Trade Unions continue to engage in a process to identify measures to address gaps in cover for emergency services and will reconvene on Thursday in an effort to progress these matters.

 

END

10,000 Voices – your chance to influence the Future of Healthcare

Patient Experience is recognised as a key element in the delivery of quality healthcare. In line with this, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is carrying out an extensive piece of work across all Health and Social Care Trusts (HSCTs), with the aim of introducing a more patient-focused approach to services and shaping future healthcare in Northern Ireland.

This project, called ‘10,000 Voices‘, gives patients and staff, as well as their families and carers, the opportunity to share their overall experience and highlight anything important, such as what they particularly liked or disliked about the experience.

In partnership with the PHA, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) is seeking patient stories between now and the end of March 2014. The aim is to then gather and feed back the views of local patients on issues relating to the planning and funding of health services.

 

Liam McIvor, NIAS Chief Executive, launching the initiative, said;

“I support the 10,000 voices initiative and welcome the opportunity to introduce another means by which we hear directly from those who use our services so that we can listen and learn, and apply that learning to improve our service.”

Doctor David McManus, Medical Director and Lead Director in this area added:
“This is an opportunity for us to hear patient stories about their experience with NIAS and use them to influence and inform the future development of the service we provide to ensure it is truly patient-centred. I would therefore commend the project to you and ask for your support. “

 

Members of the public, staff, service users or patients who have been or who currently use our ambulance service and who wish to participate and tell their patient story or experience from any area within Northern Ireland can either complete the survey atwww.10000voices.info   or request a paper version of the survey or ask for information and support by calling telephone: 028 9032 1313 ext 2497 (office hours). This can then be returned, free of charge, in the envelope provided with the survey.

 

Ballymena Ambulance Station Update

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service are currently in the planning stages for construction of a new ambulance station hub with associated staff and administrative facilities, district headquarters, garaging and car parking on a green field site between Ballee Road West and the Antrim Road in Ballymena. The total area of the site is 0.7892 Hectares. The gross floor area of the actual building is 1840m 2 . This is made up from 1274m 2 of functional areas, 393.5m 2 of circulation areas and 182.5m 2 of storage.

BREEAM is the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. The building is being designed to reach BREEAM Excellent status and is anticipated to achieve a score of 71.76%. This will be achieved through using innovative features such as a biomass boiler and LED lighting. BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance. It encourages designers, clients and others to think about low carbon and low impact design, minimising the energy demands created by a building before considering energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.

A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology. They include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.

The project costs are estimated to be £5,367,329 and of this. The costs of electrical and mechanical services are expected to be £492,000 and £355,000 respectively. The electricity usage is predicted to be 90,000kWh a year which would equate to £8.70/m 2 but there is not anticipated to be any fossil fuel usage as the Biomass boiler will take the average heating load and gas will only be used as a backup. The predicted water usage is 18.25m 3 /person/year.

The new building will provide a great environment both for crews who are out on the road and administration staff who will also be based there. The Ambulance Service is using this opportunity to create an identity for itself. The colours used will reflect those of the ambulance service which will distinguish NIAS as a brand. This colour scheme and associated design elements will then be rolled out through any further construction works. This will put NIAS forward as an important civic entity and elevate it’s status among the wider public.