Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland paramedic who warned of suicide threat to colleagues over stress of job stood down

 

A paramedic who warned that his colleagues are being pushed to the brink of suicide was stood down from duty by his bosses, it can be revealed
A paramedic who warned that his colleagues are being pushed to the brink of suicide was stood down from duty by his bosses, it can be revealed

By Lisa Smyth

A paramedic who warned that his colleagues are being pushed to the brink of suicide was stood down from duty by his bosses, it can be revealed.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) employee posted a scathing Facebook message accusing management of treating staff with contempt.

The devastating post urged bosses to act urgently to address working conditions "before you wake up to a headline some day that will haunt you for the rest of your days".

Within hours of appearing on social media last week, it had been shared more than 142 times and 'liked' by over 250 people.

The paramedic was subsequently stood down and advised by his bosses to seek a mental health assessment at an emergency department.

A colleague said: "It's unbelievable, this guy just tells it like it is, he calls out management for what's happening and the way we're all being treated and that's their response.

"You couldn't make it up.

"He was getting so much hassle over the whole thing that he's now off sick."

The post begins by hitting out at the discrepancy in pay between paramedics and medical technicians in Northern Ireland and Scotland, highlighting a difference of almost £8,000 between the two.

It continued: "The fact that paramedics and technicians in NIAS have to drag themselves into work for five or six shifts more per month than their Scottish counterparts just to achieve what they receive as regular pay should set alarm bells ringing as to why so many are out sick with stress and mental health issues.

"To management I say… stop using Stormont's lack of an Assembly as your latest, long-running excuse to hold up our right to the pay we deserve.

"You are killing any love anyone had for the job.

"You are destroying us with your utter contempt for front line staff.

"You are causing severe financial hardship for many.

"You are causing stress, depression and even suicidal thoughts in many.

"You are walking us into a mental health crisis with your attitude to this and also to our day to day welfare regarding rest periods, late finishes and enforced overtime.

"You are haemorrhaging staff as people jump ship to Capita, GP surgeries or just leave before the job kills them.

"Is that what it's going to take for you to sit up and notice the rot beneath your feet?

"We are fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, daughters, carers, colleagues and friends, and we are sick to the back teeth of your inaction and procrastination.

"Get it sorted or move over and let someone who has an ounce of compassion get the job done for you, before you wake up to a headline someday that will haunt you for the rest of your days."

The Ambulance Service was unable to provide a comment on the matter.

But it is widely accepted that the service is increasingly struggling to meet demand.

Paramedics have claimed they can work entire shifts without toilet or food breaks and that working conditions are driving a growing number of staff to take sick leave.

The paramedic posted the message to NIAS bosses just over a week after nurses in Northern Ireland warned they may take strike action over pay and conditions.

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