Ambulance bosses are considering plans to not send paramedics on 999 calls in the final hour of their shifts, a leaked report has revealed.
The East of England Ambulance Service Trust is understood to be in talks with union Unison about changes to working practice to reduce paramedics’ stress levels.
One idea, leaked to the Mail On Sunday newspaper, would see crews stop answering emergency ‘Red 1’ and ‘Red 2’ calls – the most serious – in the last hour of their shifts.
A risk assessment, seen by the trust board, reveals the change would probably have a “catastrophic consequence”.
It warns the proposal could result in “incident leading to death” or “multiple permanent injuries or irreversible health effects”.
It would also lead to a “gross failure to meet national standards 2, according to the report.
The proposal comes after the body of James Harrison, 32, was left lying by bins for three hours at an ambulance station so a crew could knock off on time last September.
Paramedics from Downham ambulance station collected the corpse at 5.30am and should have taken it to a hospital mortuary. But they were due to finish their shift at 6am and instead left him at Ely ambulance station and asked police to call an undertaker.
A trust spokeswoman confirmed it was considering the 999 change, but said “nothing has been finalised”.