Widespread gender inequality in East of England Ambulance Service

Paramedics Sarah Ford and Emma-Louise Bowen Hillson have been involved in an initiative to promote g

Paramedics Sarah Ford and Emma-Louise Bowen Hillson have been involved in an initiative to promote gender equality in the workplace. - Credit: Archant

Inequality within the region’s ambulance service is prevalent, with basic pay higher for men than women in all areas and a poor representation of women in senior roles.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s annual report highlights that only 13 per cent of directors and 24 per cent of A&E operational middle managers are women.

Just 17 per cent of air and specialist operations are women and 100 per cent of vehicle operatives are men.

Basic pay over the past 12 months has been higher for men than women across all occupational groups within the Trust.

Earlier this year the Trust launched a women’s special interest group, called All Women in EEAST, with the aim of exploring issues women face at work and what can be done to break down barriers.

Lindsey Stafford-Scott, the Trust’s director of people and culture, said: “Across the NHS there is a need to support more women into senior leadership positions.”

The Trust’s annual report also highlights a 125 per cent increase in complaints about patient transport services – partly due to a change in provider – and a 15 per cent rise in complaints about emergency care.

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However, there was an almost 13 per cent improvement in responses to the most critical patients in April 2017, compared with April 2016, and this is despite a 13 per cent increase in life-threatening (red) calls.

Money spent on private ambulance services more than doubled - from £4.9m in 2015-16 to £12.6m in 2016-17 – and the Trust has reported a year end deficit of £9.989 million.

A Trust spokesman said a drop in spending on private ambulances during the early part of this financial year will be evident in next year’s figures.

The Trust’s chief executive, Robert Morton, said: “Over the past year we have made tremendous progress despite being under sustained pressure.

“The highlight for me was the feedback from the Care Quality Commission, who told us about their expectation of us to move to ‘good’ on their next inspection.”

He added: “We have focused heavily this year on better supporting staff and their health and wellbeing, and developing the culture of the Trust.”

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