Whistleblower warned UK ambulance service before 3 died

A letter sent to the East of England Ambulance Service Trust warned of “psychological abuse” before three EMS providers died within a 10-day period


By EMS1 Staff

UNITED KINGDOM — A whistleblower sent a letter warning of “psychological abuse” and “potential loss of life” at a U.K. ambulance trust about a month before three trust employees died suddenly.

Between Nov. 11 and Nov. 21, three EMS providers at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) died unexpectedly, prompting the trust to offer mental health support and open a helpline for employees, the Eastern Daily Press reported.

However, former EEAST managers said problems at the ambulance service were having a negative impact on the wellbeing of employees.

“The issue is that the culture doesn’t allow people to speak up,” a former manager told the Eastern Daily Press. “Managers keep pushing people to do more and absence is frowned upon. It is just a toxic place to work throughout the senior management. Something needs to happen to look after staff.”

Another said the trust’s human resources department was “slashed.”

Additionally, a letter by an anonymous whistleblower reportedly sent to EEAST’s interim chief executive and a member of parliament said, “I have genuine concern that if this situation continues then the risk of suicide and increase (sic) risk to patients will result in reputational damage to the NHS and potential loss of life.”

The letter, first reported by the Ambulance News Desk in October, also said staff were experiencing “psychological abuse.”

EEAST said two members of its HR welfare team were removed as part of “realignment of services” and the money was being invested in “more effective services that meet staff needs such as counselling and post-traumatic stress disorder support.”

The trust said four HR staff members remained at the department and that they were using a third-party company to reduce employee sickness, as well as a team of chaplains and others to help with PTSD management.

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