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Ambulance Services

Volume 960: debated on Friday 15 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, how many people were employed in the ambulance services in each of the last 10 years ; how many people have left the service during each of those years ; and how many have been recruited to the service during each of those years.

The tables below show, respectively, the numbers and whole time equivalents, of ambulance officers and ambulance men/women, excluding. administrative and clerical staff, workshop staff and miscellaneous staff such as store-men, canteen staff and vehicle and station cleaners, in England at 30th September for the years 1968–1977—the latest available date. I regret that statistics on leavers and recruits to the service are not held centrally.

TABLE A
NUMBERS OF AMBULANCE OFFICERS AND AMBULANCE MEN/WOMEN EMPLOYED IN THE AMBULANCE SERVICE IN ENGLAND AI 30TH SEPTEMBER

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

Ambulance officers (includes control room, supervisory and training staff)2,0712,1522,2212,3022,3792,604N.A.3,0363,0623,148
Ambulance men/women13,10513,17613,51513,69513,91614,026N.A.14,04414,21714,314
Totals15,17615,32815,73615,99716,29516,630N.A.17,08017,27917,462
N.A. =Not available.

TABLE B
WHOLE TIME EQUIVALENTS—AMBULANCE OFFICERS AND AMBULANCE MEN/WOMEN EMPLOYED IN THE AMBULANCE SERVICE IN ENGLAND AT 30TH SEPTEMBER

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

Ambulance officers (includes control room, supervisory and training staff)1,9852,0572,1242,2072,2762,5102,7223,0083,0463,130
Ambulance men/women12,39612,47512,72213,03613,33513,51213,31013,98614,13814,272
Totals14,38114,53214,84615,24315,61116,02216,03216,99417,18417,402

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which of the ambulance services in England and Wales are up to establishment; which are below establishment; and in the latter case, by what number and by what percentage the service in question is below establishment.

Information on the establishments of health authorities' ambulance services in England and Wales is not held centrally and could not be provided without disproportionate expense.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he is taking in order to increase recruitment for the ambulance service; and whether he will intensify such steps.

Responsibility for the provision of ambulance services, including recruitment to the service, rests with the health authority concerned. In order to give general encouragement to recruiting a careers leaflet on the ambulance service is being prepared by my Department and should be available later in the year. I do not consider that any other initiatives are required at this stage.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services by what percentage the pay of a recruit of the ambulance service is below that of a recruit to the fire service and to the police service, respectively.

A direct comparison is not possible; patterns of work and hours of work and payment for them vary as between the three services. The weekly rate of pay for a trainee ambulance man 18 years and over is £45·80 for a 40 hours of day work, Monday to Friday. The rate of pay for an 18-year-old fireman is £69·47 for 48 hours—in the process of reducing to 42 hours—working rotating shifts covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For a police constable on entry at 18½ years the weekly rate of pay is £61·16 for 40 hours also working rotating shifts and weekends.These figures for trainee ambulance men take no account of the recent offer made to the trade union side of the ambulance men Whitley Council within the guidelines of the Government's coun- ter-inflationary policy which would be effective from 1st January 1979.The rates quoted for the firemen, however, are those effective from 7th November 1978 and for the police from 1st September 1978.