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Up until this moment in time the Branch has not publicly posted any view point on the Trust media posts of last Thu, Thu 16th Dec 2021. Which they released in reference to Ambulance staff’s 30 minute UNPAID mealbreaks.

We were unsure as to what was the Trust ‘spin’ in relation to fact. Over the course of the last 6 days disecting ‘spin’ from fact & now having actually been invited to sit down around the table in consultation with the Trust, we have what we believe to be factual the following point of view, in summary:

NEAS Ambulance staff receive 30minute UNPAID Mealbreaks. UNPAID Mealbreaks appears to have been Omitted from the Trust releases.

Staff have to work a 12hour shift to get two 30minute UNPAID Mealbreaks.

Any shift up to a 12hour shift, eg, an 11hour shift, only receives One 30minute UNPAID Mealbreak.

Staff volunteer to respond to patients whilst travelling back for their Mealbreaks, even though the Trust has STATED to staff they do not have to! A fact that appears to have been Omitted from the Trust releases.

Staff volunteer to attend patients whilst ON their Mealbreaks. A fact that appears to have been Omitted from the Trust releases.

Staff bring plated food into work at their duty stations, so as to be able to have during their 30minute UNPAID Mealbreak a hot nutritious meal.

Staff, until the Trust media posts of Thu 14th Dec, were NOT allowed to carry, for Infection Prevention & Control reasons, food in their ambulances. Now suddenly, in the middle of a Pandemic they are! Where do you carry a ‘plated’ meal, in ambulance?

It was suggested that staff could eat in their ambulance vehicles. Vehicles that see the begining of life, Covid-19 positive patients & unfortunately the passing of life. Would you wish to eat here? Is it not fair staff are not allowed to rest away from their area of ‘work’ where they feel comfortable & can relax.

You cannot carry enough nutritious food in a cool bag for two 30minute Mealbreaks over 12hours.

Cool bags do not allow for the correct storage of food up to 12hours.

Staff need to be able to relax on their OWN stations during their 30minute UNPAID breaks. This is to eat a hot nutritious meal, relax, unwind, shower (please consider what they can attend) & talk through, if they wish, recent events amongst themselves. Please consider WE ALL come to work to make a difference, we do, however, need to relax, reflect, in our own teams/own, with a hot meal. You would.

Rural populations will suffer as rural crews will not be in their stations for their Mealbreaks. This will increase ambulance response times.

Staff attend incidents & work in the pouring rain, extreme cold & blizzards. £5 for a sandwich & a bottle of water will not provide sufficient nourishment.

The stated £5 meal allowance will not purchase a hot nutritious meal. Staff deserve to have the right to eat hot nutritious meals during their shift. Do you want them responding to you hungry 10hours into a 12hour shift?

The Trust media release of Thu 16th, due to ‘spin’, has seen staff unjustly abused both verbally & on social media.

The Trust had to be ‘informed’ of their implied blame of their own staff. We are sure those that have been transported to hospitals, their family & friends know they wait due to there being a lack of hospital beds. Not because the staff are ‘lazy’ & cannot be bothered!

Staff, where possible & appropriate, will seek not to transport members of the public & make GP arrangements. A fact that appears to have been Omitted from the Trust releases.

The Branch have become aware that the Trust media releases were produced days prior to their ‘public’ release. Ergo the Trust had a further 2 days to consider their words. The Trust does have a professional Communications Department. The Trust did not change their media release.

The Trust media release on the 16th Dec was NOT relayed to either of the Unions, or staff before its public release. Staff dietary, religious & welfare needs had not been considered prior to the media release.

The Trust media release of the 16th Dec has resulted, due to its implied blame, in the public abuse of staff. The same public that were clapping the NHS last Year.

The CEO can delegate authority, but not responsibility. The CEO is responsible for all the Trust’s actions, which includes her Executive Team & Senior Management.

The subsequent Trust media release in which the CEO has offered an apology, which although acknowledged, was forced by staff to be stated. It should be noted, no mention of UNPAID Mealbreaks, staff attending patients when on their Mealbreaks, or even when the Trust has said they do not have to, has been made. A fact that appears to have been Omitted from the Trust releases.

Yesterday the Branch & Unison, sat around the table to have what we hoped to be a open & transparent consultation, on behalf of ALL. It came to light that the Trust were still actively arranging for staff to have their 30minute UNPAID Mealbreaks away from their stations. Even thought it had been stated in yesterday’s meeting, that going forward it was to be an open & transparent meeting, to discuss the Trust proposals.

The Trust – still not open, honest & transparent.

We await today’s meeting.

Members will be updated.

The GMB will seek to ensure the welfare of staff so they CAN ensure the welfare of those that THEY attend.


The Branch learnt last night the Trust has stated rural crews Mealbreaks will be protected on their stations. We are seeking to clarify those stations.

Posted: 22nd December 2021

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