Ambulance workers and paramedics protested outside the Department of Health today over plans to force them to continue working until they are 68.
They say if the policy is enforced, ambulance workers will be in poorer health than the patients they are treating — and lives will be under threat.
General union GMB says their retirement age should be in line with police and firefighters — a maximum of 60.
Ambulance workers and paramedics are often first on the scene at road accidents and other incidents.
GMB says a survey of its members in ambulance services revealed that 99 per cent believed the job was too demanding beyond the age of 60.
The survey also found that 99.49 per cent want a reduction in their pension age, and 98.81 per cent support GMB’s call on the government to reduce the pensionable age of ambulance workers to 60.
One South Western Ambulance paramedic said: “How do you reassure the 59-year-old heart attack victim that the two 67-year-old ambulance personnel can safely carry him downstairs?
Another paramedic said: “I’m worried — I am not sure that we will be physically able to work 12-hour shifts at that age.
“This job is physically and mentally demanding and is getting more so as each year passes. Something has to give if the government expects us to work until 68.”
GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said: “Our members work desperately hard saving lives — but they just can’t keep it going until they are 68.
“They know it’s impossible and could risk the lives of their patients.
“Meanwhile they worry their health will deteriorate and they will be forced to leave and find alternative employment.
“Many fear that they will be forced to retire early, taking a reduced pension and ultimately being in a poorer medical condition than the person they are treating.
“It’s not fair on our life-saving ambulance staff and the government must review the situation.”
The Department of Health had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.
Picture and story Reference and credit to Morning Starr Online
Posted: 18th July 2019