Scotland politics

Minister Sturgeon announces ambulance 'breaks row' deal

Mandy Mathieson
Image caption Mandy Mathieson died in October last year, bringing the issue to public attention

An interim agreement has been reached to pay ambulance staff to respond to emergency calls while on a break, the government has confirmed.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs about the deal, which will be in place until talks resume in December.

The death of Moray woman Mandy Mathieson last year brought the row to wider public attention.

An ambulance technician stationed close to her home did not respond to a call because he was on a break.

Unions representing most ambulance staff recently voted to reject a deal to resolve the dispute.

Unions and management have been trying to find a solution to this issue ever since Ms Mathieson, from Tomintoul, died in October last year.

Ms Sturgeon told staff that the interim arrangement would mean all applicable staff being required to respond to "Category A' emergency calls and major incidents during rest breaks.

Staff would be compensated with an annual payment of £250, a guaranteed rest break and payment of £100 if the rest break was disturbed.

The arrangements will apply from October 10 and be in place for three-months to allow longer term negotiations to continue.

Ms Sturgeon told parliament: "I believe these interim arrangements are in the interests of both patients and staff.

"These steps allow me to be assured - and allow me to reassure the public - that patient safety is paramount, that the views of the workforce are respected and that the Scottish government and the Scottish Ambulance Service will continue to seek a way forward in partnership."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites