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'Absolute disgrace' - Ambulance service removes staff 'welfare bus' despite concerns over workforce pressure

PUBLISHED: 16:13 29 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 29 November 2019

The welfare vehicle was stationed at West Suffolk Hospital (stock photo) Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The welfare vehicle was stationed at West Suffolk Hospital (stock photo) Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

Staff have criticised ambulance bosses for the withdrawal of a 'welfare bus' which had given workers a chance to 'off load' and receive peer support.

The bus, which was setup in August had been based at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds to help support staff with vehicle restocking and welfare.

But staff claim the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust removed it from service because it was taking crews off the road too long.

At a time when EEAST is facing severe criticism for the pressures facing employees and three sudden staff deaths, the decision has proved controversial.

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One member of staff, commenting on a post from the interim chief executive about EEAST's response to the recent event said it was an "absolute disgrace".

Another, speaking to this newspaper, said the bus was a "great innovation" and the decision to remove it showed staff welfare had been "completely ignored".

Speaking before bus's removal, Mike Rampling who helped run the scheme, said: "I felt it was a key opportunity to help staff feel more supported by the Trust and perhaps shift some unhelpful perceptions.

"One of the biggest impacts has been the massive boost in staff morale. It's already improved team working and a sense of belonging - there's been a definite cultural shift. Every locality should have one."

EEAST did not respond to a request for information about the bus's removal.

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