Paramedics face ran­dom drug tests

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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

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