Paramedics face random drug tests
Yorkshire’s ambulance service could become the first in the country to introduce random drug and alcohol testing for its paramedics.
Union chiefs say that the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is now in talks to change its stance on the issue.
While bus and train drivers are subjected to drug or alcohol tests, paramedics at YAS and similar NHS trusts are currently not.
Public service union Unison has warned that despite ongoing discussions, the introduction of the new testing policy could be inevitable. Bryn Webster, the union’s branch secretary, said: “We are between a rock and a hard place.
“We don’t agree with random drug testing, but we are going to have to concede that they are going to bring it in without our consent. I believe this will be the first ambulance trust in the country to have random drug and alcohol testing.” In a statement, Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it is currently “looking to introduce a Fitness for Work Policy”, but declined to comment on whether it intends to bring in random testing.
Mr Webster said the new policy could be brought in by the end of this month. He added: “Due to the stresses and strains of the job, the trust needs to understand that people might be driven to drink.”
Unite the union said it was against the move in principle.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service