Ambulance Trust preventing frontline NHS staff accessing life-saving vaccine
"To forbid its staff, who have risked their lives all year to save the lives of others, from accessing life-saving vaccines is nothing short of criminal," say GMB Southern
GMB, the union for Paramedics and Ambulance professionals, have been flooded with complaints after staff learned that South East Coast Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust (SECAmb) management have been preventing its own frontline staff, the brave NHS Paramedics and other frontline Ambulance professionals, from taking-up the offer of vaccinations from the Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals, NHS Foundation Trust, (BSUH).
BSUH had started offering the life-saving vaccines to the Ambulance staff on Sunday afternoon, rather than see possible hundreds of doses of vaccine go to waste. However, SECAmb management decided, without consultation, to issue a missive on their own SECAmb Facebook community page (Copy Below) forbidding ambulance staff from attending on the basis of some bureaucratic rationale.
They further sent a Trust manager to then attend the BSUH to directly instruct the Hospital Trust not to accept SECAmb staff for vaccinations and to make sure staff did not continue to try to access vaccinations.
Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser said: "To be honest I was so shocked when I first found out about this and GMB will be seeking immediate answers to several serious questions and concerns about this blatant abandonment of those in the frontline, who without question put their lives at risk all year, and who then find themselves forbidden to access the vaccine when available and possibly wasted if not used up. It is nothing short of criminal.
"Just two days after Christmas and SECAmb staff are already finding themselves once again questioning if their own management have their best interests and welfare at heart.
"GMB union and its members will be demanding an explanation as a result of this blatant abandonment of its own employees, and of course the obvious first being why would an employer prevent its staff, especially as it is believed that the vaccine supply was in fact surplus for the day and therefore staff were being asked if they wanted to be vaccinated to prevent wasting a number of doses. Why therefore would SECAmb stop a registered healthcare organisation at liberty to provide vaccination to whosoever it chooses, from doing so?
"To the horror of ambulance staff, some who had travelled almost 100 miles to access this treatment, they were met by a SECAmb manager who had been instructed to turn the staff away at the door. It is already a national disgrace that ambulance staff will be at the back of the queue for vaccines, but this is another level.
"GMB SECAmb Branch officials have been today proactively seeking to challenge the managers and directly with the Chief Executive Officer, Philip Astle. Whilst the SECAmb management team have now, we believe, claimed this was an error; too much effort was placed by the trust upon preventing and blocking staff for that to be clearly true. As a result of this appalling decision, lives may well be lost.
"The GMB Branch must now consider reporting this matter to the Care Quality Commission, the regulators of nurses, paramedics and doctors and to Sussex Police. It will also be seeking a vote of no confidence in the executive directors of SECAmb."