After more than a year since the launch of the campaign by the trade union Unison to end the use of fines and penalties for ambulance crews who use bus lanes in York when transporting patients to the Hospital, Rachael Maskell MP for York Central has secured the change in a decision now published on the City of York Council website.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service crews have been speaking about the difficulties of not being able to use bus lanes in York for more than 18 months, whilst the same crews have been able to transport patients to Hospitals in Leeds, making use of bus lanes. Ms Maskell took up the campaign in York and wrote directly to the Council’s Acting Chief Executive in Spring 2020, requesting the policy change.
Rachael Maskell MP says:
“There have been several local agreements in place across Yorkshire and the Humber (and nationally) for some time now, allowing the use of bus lanes for ambulance vehicles whilst travelling to hospital with patients under non-emergency conditions.
“Benefits range from cutting carbon emissions, improving patient care and crucially, improving the availability of ambulances in the City of York area. I want to see services improved and am now pleased to see this unnecessary barrier has at last been overcome.
“I want to thank the campaigning efforts of Unison and particularly of York Emergency Medical Technician Ross Ferguson, who raised the matter directly with me.”
Ross Ferguson, Emergency Medical Technician, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust says:
“The demand on NHS ambulance trusts has grown exponentially over recent years, with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating this further. As such, local initiatives to support our service delivery are greatly welcomed.
“Not all of our journeys to hospital are for patients in life-threatening circumstances requiring blue lights. This initiative will therefore help patients who may not need to be conveyed on blue lights, but are in pain or distress for example. Ultimately, the use of bus lanes will positively impact our service around the York area and chiefly support our patients.”