This Blogs On Fire!

In my last blog (published on Thursday 7th October) I criticised the Chief Fire Officers suggestion at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham that they should take over, manage and run the Ambulance Service.

This week, on Monday 11th, four days later, an electrical fire in the basement of London Ambulance Waterloo Headquarters knocked out the whole of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) forcing staff to be moved to the fallback control at Bow! Spooky!

Make your own minds up!!


Join The Rally & Lobby

19th October 2010


As Part of the TUC’s campaign against the cuts a rally and lobby of Parliament are planned for 19th October 2010 – the day before the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Cuts are already hitting public services hard after the emergency budget in June, and on the 20th October 2010 the Chancellor will set out the details of the coalition’s spending plans for the next three years.

It is important that we take a strong message to Westminster and the media on the 19th with a successful rally and lobby of Parliament.

 LAS UNISON will have a presence on the day and we would like as many people as possible to join us. This rally is the first of many activities planned in the build up to the National Demonstration in March 2011.

The National Health Service is not being ‘ring-fenced’ by the Coalition government – it is being choked!

 Please email  to confirm your attendance.


UNISON applied in August for a judicial review over what we believe is a lack of proper public consultation over the government’s NHS reform proposals.

The NHS has already been instructed to begin implementing some of the reforms before the official end of the White Paper consultation period which was on 11th October.

We argued that the consultation needed to ask whether the reforms should go ahead at all, and pointed to a public right included in the NHS Constitution – as well as how they should actually be introduced.

UNISON acted quickly and decisively to protect members interests within the Health Service.

Unfortunately our challenge has not been successful. The following press release has just been released:


UNISON, the UK’s largest public service union, said today (14 October) that its fight for the future of the NHS will “go on”, following the High Court’s decision today, that the union’s Judicial Review was unsuccessful.
In a positive move, the judge said it was perfectly proper for UNISON to seek  
a Judicial Review, saying that we had raised an important principle that was in the constitutional interest.  However, Justice Mitting ruled that the court could not place a legal demand on the Government to consult the public, patients or staff over plans contained in its NHS White Paper.

Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health, said:
“Today’s decision is disappointing, but the fight for the future of our NHS
won’t stop at the door to the court.
“The Judicial Review has exposed the charade of Government claims that it
wants to empower patients, the public and staff over how the NHS is run.
The Government said in the White Paper – “no decision about me, without me”
– but when it comes to influencing the future of our NHS, clearly they think
they can do without us all.  The Secretary of State cannot say that he has
consulted on the White Paper – the damaging ideas in it are all his own.
“Taking the Judicial Review has successfully galvanised support from other
health bodies, patient groups, charities, academics and the public.  We will
be mobilising that support and making MPs acutely aware of the local and
national opposition that their plans for the NHS have generated.
“We will also be battling hard to make others aware of the full extent
the  impact of the wide-ranging proposals in the White Paper. It represents
the most radical shake-up of the NHS in its entire history and yet there was
no mention of it in either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos.
It threatens to turn our NHS into nothing more than a brand, a nice logo to
be displayed outside increasingly privately run and owned hospitals,
wrestled from the health service.

“That is why the fight must go on.”


 The last time I counted there was about 15 private ambulance companies doing Patient Transport work in London: Caring for You, Carillon, GSL (Global Solutions Limited), Chalfont Line, Medical Services, Savoy, Door to Door, Ecovert FM, M&L, Charlton Cars, E-Zec, DHL, Highway Taxis, Kilo Taxis, OSL (Olympic Services Limited).

In the current financial climate these, and more, are almost certain to aggressively pursue more contracts.

This is not just an issue for the Union, it is also an issue for local communities and local groups interested in their NHS.

When a London Ambulance Patient Transport contract is under threat in the future, the Union will work together with these groups to put pressure on the hospital trust to stick with the LAS and not add to the list above.

London Ambulance PTS staff and management deserve all our support.


UNISON has played a major part in getting the agreement to offer Student Paramedic roles to our A&E Support Staff.

I wrote in the blog on 24th September that 48 places for A&E Support Staff were made available on two separate Student Paramedic courses. This was to try and create a proper career pathway for our members.

This depended, of course, on staff passing an assessment.

The Union has since heard from a number of concerned A&E Support members regarding those assessments and we will be seeking to meet with the relevant managers to discuss those concerns.

We want A&E Support Staff to be able to progress within the Service and it has to be on a level playing field. UNISON is committed to this.


It is really good that as I write this the Chilean mineworkers are slowly but surely being brought to the surface one by one after being trapped underground for 69 days. All should be safely out. The scenes at the pit head are truly emotional and it has been a fabulous rescue.

The Chair of our Branch (Eddie Brand) called me to say that my football team, Liverpool FC, have appointed the President of Chile , Sebastian Pinera, as our new manager on the basis that he was the only one who could get us out of the hole we are in!!


If you are reading this, work for the London Ambulance Service and are not yet a member of UNISON: Join Today!

We are stronger together.

Eric Roberts

Branch Secretary