Review finds ‘areas for improvement’ at EMAS

East Midlands Ambulance Service has refuted claims of bullying within the organisation after an anoymous letter was sent to the Guardian.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 18th May 2013, 9:09 am
Fast Response vehicle outside Worksop Ambulance Station (w121023-11)
Fast Response vehicle outside Worksop Ambulance Station (w121023-11)

The letter, sent by a group of North Notts paramedics, alleges that bullying is rife within the organisation - causing depression among workers and forcing them to turn to drink and drugs to cope.

The Guardian has since met with the group of paramedics to discuss their concerns about staff welfare and wellbeing.

“Morale has been low for the past five years but it hit an all time low in 2010,” they said.

“It’s become very target driven and we are increasingly treated like robots - regardless of whether we have been on a particularly distressing job or not.”

They added: “We used to be like a family and would look out for one another. Now it is more about a face-fitting culture, and if your face doesn’t fit, then you are subjected to bullying.”

“As a service we understand that surely EMAS has a duty of care to staff members but time and time again staff are let down and kicked into submission,” they said.

“If they dare to speak out it’s at their own peril. If EMAS did allow staff to speak out, paramedics would come forward in their droves.”

“But management haven’t allowed staff to feel that way, so instead they suffer in silence.”

An EMAS spokesman said an independent investigation into the organisation’s working culture was launched following the allegations made in the letter.

“The investigation found no evidence of bullying at either an organisational or personal level ,” he said.

“We’ve taken steps to improve the way we work through our Being the Best change programme.”

“This includes measures to communicate better with staff and provide them with more support, for example by introducing a more streamlined management structure.”

“Evidence of the progress we’ve made came in the 2012 national staff opinion survey. Of the 12 ambulance services in England, EMAS was ranked second for ‘good communication between senior management and staff’ and ‘support from the immediate managers’.”

“We accept that some staff are unhappy with our plans. However, we gave them every opportunity to put forward their views and did make some changes to the original proposals in light of the feedback received. We encourage staff to let us know if they have any concerns, such as using our whistleblowing policy.”