Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Staff training so far fails to meet targets
Great Western Ambulance Service has admitted it is failing to meet its target on training staff this year.
Just three months into the new financial year and GWAS is far behind its target on mandatory training.
GWAS, which covers Wiltshire, Avon and Gloucestershire, failed to meet the Healthcare Commission's target on mandatory training last year.
Rachel Pearce, director of corporate development at GWAS, told a meeting of the GWAS board in Chippenham last Thursday: "We were not compliant with the target last year.
"Our response was that we would be compliant this year but we will not.
"There's training going on and we are looking at ways of improving that."
GWAS chairman Tony FitzSimons asked for options to improve the situation to be brought to the next board meeting.
However, following the meeting, chief executive Tim Lynch said: "We did not state that we are going to fail the Healthcare Commission target on mandatory training for staff for 2008/09, but the rate at which we are completing mandatory training has slipped.
"There is a constant need to balance operational commitments with training needs and the trust will work to bring this back into balance in the coming months."
GWAS had set itself a target of training 262 of its staff by the end of June but only 81 had been trained. It had planned to train all 1,402 staff by the end of December.
Following a review, GWAS is reducing a day long generic training course to half a day.
In addition online and distance learning packages are to be introduced in addition to face to face training.
The failure by GWAS to meet its training target is no surprise to the union Unison, which represents more than half the workforce.
It raised its concerns about the lack of training in May at a joint scrutiny meeting of local councils.
Ian Whittern, chairman of the GWAS branch and a paramedic based in Bristol, said: "GWAS' attempt to fudge to half a day's training is typical of the trust's approach.
"Staff should be afforded proper training and the trust should fit their resources around training needs of staff.
"Since GWAS came into being over two years ago it has not afforded staff the proper training in an attempt to chase targets set by the Government.
"It has imposed on itself a cancellation of training courses to achieve target times but in doing so has placed the staff and ultimately the public at increased risk."