A group of paramedics working for the East of England Ambulance Service say they've been left with 'no choice' but to whistle blow on their 'awful' working conditions.

One significant issue that the West Suffolk sector group raised was that very little seems to have changed since the trust's damning CQC report in July 2022.

They stated that staff are not given adequate time to complete ongoing training and leaders do not take their concerns seriously.

The trust said concerns were taken "very seriously" and it is working to build an "honest and open" culture. 

For the group, one member said: "I'd say over 100 people have left since early 2020, with many of them being experienced staff

"We don't feel valued at all. It's awful."

They added that top-level management makes extensive changes without consulting staff, resulting in impractical conditions.

For example, the loss of the paramedic bag means that the crew have to carry heavier equipment in many different bags to some of their most urgent cases.

"There is too much bureaucracy and too many departments and managers to have any hope of being listened to," they said.

They say they have offered solutions to problems such as the extensive amount of expired equipment being thrown away, but they are not taken on board.

Concerns have also been raised in regard to staff being too tall or short to drive the new ambulance vehicles, which causes a knock-on effect in compromising patient care.

"Staff are being forced to either choose to drive a vehicle they feel unsafe in or refuse to drive," they said.

If the paramedic has to drive as a result of their partner being unable to drive the vehicle, the lower grade clinician will be responsible for patient care.

Alongside, this they have detailed staff driving all day and becoming so tired that they fall asleep at the wheel.

In their response, the trust said this issue would never be ignored and staff would always be provided with a safe alternative.

They also added that managers are working to review options for staff unable to safely drive the new vehicles.

Another bone of contention is the plans to build a new ambulance hub on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds.

East Anglian Daily Times: Concerns have been raised over the construction of a new ambulance hub on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds.Concerns have been raised over the construction of a new ambulance hub on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds. (Image: Corstorphine & Wright)

While the trust plan to centralise the service to the flagship development, paramedics say this will cause significant delays to rural areas as outlying stations such as Sudbury, Mildenhall, Newmarket and Thetford will be closing.

They added that staff who used to work from these areas will now be expected to make the journey to Bury St Edmunds and some will be forced into buying a car.

Some paramedics have already said they will be leaving when the new hub is finished, adding that they cannot bear the increased travel times on top of an already stressful day.

The group also stated that the welfare spaces promised will not boost wellbeing for paramedics, who spend very little time at their station.

One added: "I cannot remember the last time I relaxed between calls as we go from job to job."

An East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) spokesman said: "Bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in the EEAST and we are working to build an open and honest culture.

"We take the concerns of our colleagues very seriously and have multiple channels where we encourage any issues to be raised, including with managers and the senior executive team."

They said that the trust operates Q&A sessions with senior members of staff every fortnight and also has a designated Freedom to Speak Up Guardian.

They continued: "Our recent CQC, and the ending of our agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, have shown the Trust is moving in the right direction, but we have been clear that there is much work to be done to address longstanding issues at the Trust and are working through a plan to do that."