First-class travel ruled out for ambulance workers

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Ambulance workers will no longer be allowed first-class rail travel when attending meetings and conferences.

All employees at North West Ambulances Service - including officers and board members - will now only use standard class facilities.

The decision was made by the ambulance trust’s executive management team, who examined a report outlining savings in terms of travel, accommodation and attendance at conferences and seminars.

As well as abolishing first-class train travel for ambulance staff, bosses have been urged to avoid sending multiple members of staff to the same events.

The trust has also established discounted rates for any overnight stays in London that have to be made by ambulance service workers.

The report stated: “It is generally considered inappropriate for public sector organisations to travel first or business class, particularly in the current financial climate.

“MPs and many local authorities no longer use first or public class. Business class travel is significantly more expensive than standard class.

“Attendance at conferences and seminars should be essential rather than desirable. Multiple representatives from the trust at the same events should be avoided where possible.”

A spokesman for North West Ambulance Service said: “As with all organisations in the current financial climate, the trust needs to look at how it can make savings without compromising patient care.

“Travel and accommodation for senior managers is one example and as such, the trust has agreed that all staff, including board members, should only use standard class facilities for travel by rail.”

The Evening Post asked to see a copy of the minutes of the meeting held by North West Ambulance Service where the discussions regarding travel costs were made, but was told it was a closed meeting.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the Taxpayer’s Alliance, said: “It is disappointing that the minutes of this meeting are not available to the public as where taxpayers’ money is concerned, we would like to see greater transparency.

“We definitely support the ambulance service’s decision to stop first class train travel for staff as ambulance workers do an extremely important job in frontline care. We need to make sure money is spent on that care rather than on first class train tickets.”