More support pledged to ambulance staff working under ‘huge pressure’

Emergency services were called when a plane made an emergency landing at Duxford this afternoon.

Emergency services were called when a plane made an emergency landing at Duxford this afternoon. - Credit: Archant

Increased support for the wellbeing and mental health of our region’s ambulance service staff has been pledged, with employees working “under huge pressure and often in unpleasant or dangerous conditions”.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust has launched a health and wellbeing hub in a bid to improve support for people in the organisation.

In the ambulance trust’s latest board papers, it says: “We know staff sickness remains high, with the primary reasons for absence consistently reported as musculoskeletal and stress, depression, anxiety and mental health issues.

“We also know we have been operating for a number of years with a significant capacity gap, with an increasing demand for our services, and we ask our employees to work under huge pressure and constraint, and often in unpleasant, emotionally-charged or dangerous conditions.

“We therefore have a responsibility to support them in coping with their everyday role. Our aim is to embed wellbeing at the heart of all that we do and to ensure our people feel supported and healthy throughout their career.”

The ambulance trust appointed a health and wellbeing manager in 2015 and says significant work has been undertaken to develop health and wellbeing approaches over the last 12 months.

Current support includes physiotherapy, counselling and specialist mental health support.

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The new health and wellbeing hub aims to be a confidential one-stop shop and, while it has only just officially launched, has actually handled more than 120 referrals since its soft launch in December.

Ambulance trust chairman Sarah Boulton said: “We have more than 160 trauma risk management practitioners, have reviewed the efficiency of our occupational health services, undertaken a culture and health audit, seen a massive uptake of the flu jab, and our chaplaincy services have really evolved.

“It can all have such a fantastic impact on how people lead their professional and personal lives and I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in bringing these programmes to fruition.”