Labour condemns ministers as official figures reveal hike in ambulance staff quitting

Posted On: 
7th May 2019

Labour has condemned ministers after party analysis found that tens of thousands of ambulance staff have quit their roles since the beginning of the decade.

The waiting ambulance area outside the A&E department of St Thomas's Hospital in London
PA Images

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth blamed Government cuts to services after it was revealed that 33,141 ambulance workers have quit their jobs since October 2010 - the year the Conservatives came to power.

The total annual number of ambulance staff leavers in England leapt by 80% between 2010/11 to 2017/18, with 4,875 heading for the exit door last year, compared with 2,704 at the start of the period.

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The figures found that every Ambulance Service in the country had suffered from an increase in the number leaving, with London particularly hard hit, having had to fill 4,097 vacancies since the start of the decade.

Elsewhere South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust saw 3,735 staff leave in the period, while the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust lost 3,639.

In 2016/17, a record 5,002 staff left their jobs in NHS Ambulance Trusts.

The party’s analysis comes after it revealed that over 200,000 nurses have quit the health service since 2010.

Mr Ashworth said: “Yet again this is more evidence of the retention and recruitment crisis afflicting our NHS after 9 hard years of Tory mismanagement and cuts.

“Workforce shortages place huge pressures on ambulance services and its patients who too often are left stranded waiting longer and longer for an ambulance to arrive.

“Investing in staff so the NHS becomes the best employer possible will be at the heart of Labour's workforce plan in government.

"Today we're calling on the Health Secretary to put aside his Tory leadership manoeuvrings and match the investment Labour is offering to help ensure our NHS has the staff it desperately needs.”

Health minister Stephen Hammond said: "Once again, Labour shows it can't do basic maths - paramedic numbers are up 40% and there are 3,800 more ambulance staff working in the NHS than there were in 2010.

“Our responsible management of the economy has meant we have been able to support and build our NHS with an extra £20.5bn through our Long Term Plan.

“There are thousands more doctors and nurses on our wards than there were in 2010, and the record levels of funding we are providing means we can continue to invest in our NHS workforce.

“Labour don’t know how to handle the economy and their prescription of more debt, higher taxes and fewer jobs would hit the NHS, leaving people’s vital health services, and its workforce, damaged.”