Stress is taking its toll on 999 ambulance staff

Problems on the frontline: a growing number of EMAS staff are going off sick with stress.
Problems on the frontline: a growing number of EMAS staff are going off sick with stress.
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A growing number of frontline ambulance personnel are going off sick with stress in the East Midlands Ambulance (EMAS) Trust, which covers South Holland.

EMAS has accepted that the “traumatic incidents” its staff attend can cause increased levels of stress and has put measures in place to help its crews cope.

Figures released following a freedom of information (FOI) request show that 61 crew members were off work with stress in the 2013/14 financial year.

Numbers of staff off with stress in the past few years were: 37 in 2012/13, 31 in 2011/12 and 36 in 2010/11.

A trust spokesman said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is an absolute priority and we recognise that the role of our frontline clinicians can be physically demanding and the traumatic incidents they respond to can cause increased levels of stress.

“We offer a wide range of help facilities for colleagues including a staff support network, PAM Assist (a 24/7 phone line for staff support), chaplaincy support and a new informal support service amongst colleagues called Peer 2 Peer.”

EMAS paramedic Kev Charles, the service’s chaplain, is leading on Peer 2 Peer.

He said: “Over 80 staff 
have now signed up to join the programme.

“They will receive training on coping methods, having a good listening ear and how to signpost colleagues to specialist services.

“Staff often provide support to each other and this programme will help those with an interest to develop the skills needed to help colleagues who are experiencing personal or work-related stress.”