Welsh ambulance staff work over two million hours overtime in five years

The Welsh Ambulance Service have carried out over two million hours of paid overtime in the last five years, it can be revealed.

Figures obtained by the Welsh Conservatives show WAST staff work an average of 31,700 hours of overtime every month since April 2017, at a total cost of £61,166,262 – over £10m per year.

The news comes after October saw the slowest ambulance response times for red-calls on record with fewer than half reaching their patient in the eight-minute target. Additionally, two-thirds of amber call patients – which include strokes – took over an hour to reach, with only 19% arriving within 30 minutes.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:

“These figures are really concerning but hardly surprising, especially with ambulance workers – who’s work I am certain everyone is grateful for – regularly recording the highest sickness rates in the NHS.

“Ambulance technicians are regularly stuck waiting outside A&E departments, unable to handover their patient, and go to help others. This is what happens when the NHS is ill-equipped to deal with emergency patients and healthy patients cannot be discharged into a care setting.

“Is it any wonder we have NHS workers striking when they are burning out from exhaustion? Yet we have a culture of overtime that is costing the NHS millions. Now it is nurses, but how long before that spreads into other parts of the NHS?

“Labour need to get a grip on the NHS and stop breaking all the wrong records like they are on ambulance response times, A&E waits, and treatment waiting lists.”

The figures do not include unpaid overtime, and WAST were unable to provide figures on the number of staff who worked paid overtime.

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