CONTROVERSIAL proposed changes to working patterns of paramedics have been delayed after talks between bosses and union officials.

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust has been working on a scheme called Building Better Rotas for the past six months and have been speaking to frontline emergency staff about the potential changes.

The new system could see workers having to be based at different ambulance stations to their regular postings to cover staff shortages elsewhere, and rotas being changed at short notice on a system called relief working.

There has also been concerns about shift patterns with unsocial hours changing a month in advance - which would have been difficult to accommodate for workers with families and children.

Hundreds of paramedics have raised their concerns about the scheme and would prefer to see more staff recruited to fill rota gaps.

Leaders from the union Unison said the trust has now paused the process to investigate alternative approaches to rotas and relief working.

Regional organiser Sam Older said: “Ambulance staff are rightly concerned about the affect changes to their rotas could have on their work-life balance and want to ensure that rotas are fair and equitable while making sure the trust can retain and recruit staff.

“Unison will continue to work with Trust to ensure these vital public servants get acceptable rotas, allowing them to get on with the job they signed up for.”

A Trust spokesman said: “Rotas will be delivered as agreed in 2019 as an absolute requirement of the commissioning contract.

“We are pleased to be able to demonstrate our commitment to meaningful discussions prior to any formal consultation.”