GMB Ambulance trade union Voice news update
18 February 2019



The retirement age for operational ambulance workers now stands at 68 years of age. This could prove to have a detrimental impact on the long-term health of many of our members. Studies have shown that shift workers are more at risk of developing ill-health conditions.

Many GMB members working in the ambulance service believe this increased retirement age to be unreasonable considering the physical and mental demands of the job. A 68-year-old member of staff is potentially responding to patients who are younger and normally more able bodied than themselves.

Would a more appropriate retirement age be 60 years of age in-line with other physically demanding roles in the Police, Fire and Armed Forces?

As a GMB member working in the ambulance service we want to hear what your thoughts are on this issue. Please take a few moments to complete the on-line survey at:

Alternatively, you can request a paper version of the survey from your local GMB Representative and return it to FREEPOST GMB or email to

Our strength is in our numbers. If you or a work colleague is not a union member ask them to join the GMB today –

Are you interested in being a GMB Representative in your workplace? Email your details to -


Paramedics hit with 'fine for saving lives'

GMB, the largest union for the ambulance service, is appalled by a decision to hit hard up paramedics with a whopping 18% hike for their professional registration.

The Health Care Professionals Council – the body which all paramedics have to be registered with before they can operate - has increased their fees from £90 to £106.

If we were to be in annual pay talks this increase would be able to be factored into those talks.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer:

Paramedics, along with all NHS staff, have been hit by years of real terms pay cuts.

Meanwhile the chief executive of HCPC was paid a salary of £194,000 in 2016/17 – a 2% increases on the year before.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said:

“To hit our hard-up, life-saving paramedics with this unwarranted pay increase is pretty appalling – it amounts to a fine for saving lives’

“Ambulance workers’ average real terms earnings have plummeted by more than 19% since 2010 – while the chief executive of the HCPC enjoyed a pay rise to more than £194,000 a year.

“Unfortunately we are now locked into a three pay deal. If we were to be in annual pay talks this increase would be able to be factored into those talks.

“At a time when we are facing a staffing crisis within the NHS and Ambulance Service - GMB calls on HCPC to think again about this increase.”


Ambulance Trusts fork out £11 Million on high earners

The top earners at the 12 trusts across Britain pocketed a combined £11.3-£11.6 million in the financial year 2016/2017.

The highest amount was paid to Secamb’s Director of Strategy and Business Development/Acting Chief Executive who was remunerated to the tune of up to £575,000.

Seacamb paid the highest combined amount to its top earners - forking out around £1.45 million to between them.

Eye-watering salaries for the bosses while ambulance staff suffer is not good enough

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary

The combined spend would pay more than 300 much-needed paramedics’ salaries for a year.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said:

"Our ambulance trusts are running on empty. They’ve no money to hire and train the staff they need to save lives, they’re relying on increasingly old equipment and demand on their scarce resources is rocketing.

“GMB's ambulance members are working round the clock saving lives – they don’t want to hear their trust's meagre budget is being splashed on top brass salaries.

“£11 million pounds would pay more than 300 much-needed paramedics' salaries for a year.

"Many of our members are locked into a three year deal that doesn’t even give them a real terms pay rise.

“Eye-watering salaries for the bosses while ambulance staff suffer is not good enough. We need fairness in NHS pay now.”


Our own Derek Cartwright was the second highest earner with a salary and all pension related benefits amounting to between £515- £520K in 2016/17 which was the year prior to his retirement to concentrate on his beekeeping business.

This amount was made of his normal £150k salary plus £362.5-£365k in something called “all pension related benefits” which is described as the amount included here comprises all pension related benefits, including:

  • the cash value of payments (whether in cash or otherwise) in lieu of retirement benefits and
  • all benefits in year from participating in pension schemes

It should be noted that he is not alone in receiving this type of payment as the Trust has forked out over £1.7 million in all pension related benefits to executives since 2013.


Pay-cut proposals’ for ambulance and NHS staff withdrawn

GMB Scotland has today (Friday 8 February] welcomed the withdrawal of planned reforms which would have resulted in cuts to terms and conditions of Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS staff.

Proposals by the NHS Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) to the utilisation and application of Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) would have seen the value of accrued TOIL not taken automatically after three months devalued from time and half to plain time.

It would have resulted in pay cuts of over £200 for many frontline ambulance staff, who routinely accrue overruns in working time against the backdrop of increasing demands on the emergency service.


The determination of our members in the ambulance service to protect their terms and conditions was evident in their massive rejection of the reforms

GMB Scotland Organiser Karen Leonard said:

Earlier this week, GMB Scotland members in the ambulance services comprehensively rejected the reforms in a consultative ballot by 98.8 per cent, compelling STAC to withdraw the proposals following a meeting of trade union, NHS employers and Scottish Government representatives today.


GMB Scotland Organiser Karen Leonard said:

“From the outset of negotiations over NHS pay last year, we warned about the prospect of cuts to terms and conditions of staff over the further reform elements contained in the deal.

"The proposals tabled for the reform of TOIL would have been the equivalent of the Scottish Government giving staff a pay increase with one hand while taking away with the other; that’s not what hard-pressed ambulance and NHS staff signed-up for last year.

"The determination of our members in the ambulance service to protect their terms and conditions was evident in their massive rejection of the reforms - something that shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who understands the pressures they are under.

"We are pleased that the employer-side and the Scottish Government recognised the fact this would be a bad deal for staff and that they have agreed to the immediate withdrawal of the proposals.”

GMB North West & Irish Region