North East Ambulance Service were reported in The Berwick Advertiser on 5th February to be looking at axing one of two emergency ambulances which serve Berwick and the surrounding areas, leaving peoples lives at risk. This caused fury amongst organisations within the Berwick area but represents just one of a whole selection of cuts the North East Ambulance Service are expected to cutback on as they look towards saving £20m over the next five years under the government cuts.
Earlier in the week, Trevor Johnston, from UNISON, commented on the cuts right across the Ambulance service in the North East and said he was concerned 140 advanced technicians would be removed from the front line and feared that the North East Ambulance Service would look to replace those with drivers, he went onto to say this is a real worry in terms of safety for patients. "The other worry we have of course is they redesigned all the shifts, not in our view for a better service but to save money and I think most ambulance staff are going to take a cut in pay on the front line and that's going to have a terrible effect on morale."
Talk about hypocrisy, local MP Sir Alan Beith, launched a petition, which urges bosses to re-think their proposal in Berwick despite the government he serves agreeing to a 20% cut right across the Ambulance Service nationally.
The Northern Public Service Alliance together with other local organisations will also be asserting pressure by asking people to take a strong stance against these cuts in the North East Ambulance Service.