Dear members,

Welcome to our UNISON Scottish Ambulance Campaign page for proper rest breaks.


UNISON are urgently pressing management on this serious issue. If they don't come forward with an acceptable resolution then the next step may well be a ballot.

Please keep a close eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep updated as this issue develops.

Both Social media channels are embedded below further down the page.

In the meantime we need your support in two areas to build the pressure on management and the Scot Gov health secretary.

There has been an incredible response from members since the release of our newsletter on rest breaks.


As the temperatures continue to soar outside the risk to crew H&S also increases.

The job of an ambulance crew is difficult enough without our members having to do it fatigued and in increasing cases dehydrated.


We need your help to build the pressure on those with the ability to end this before something truly awful befalls a colleague, patient or the general public we care for.



1. Respond to our anchor post on Facebook or Twitter

Each time you miss a break we want you to let those with the ability to fix it know

If you don't have a Facebook or Twitter account, then why not create one if only for this fight for safe work.

It only take a few minutes to do and you can use the links below to Twitter or Facebook to get you connected.

The following social media post is sitting on our Twitter and Facebook pages. Both are embedded below.

"Hi @HumzaYousaf @paulinehowie

UNISON @Scotambservice Members say they are regularly left fatigued from missing rest breaks creating a risk to their patients, themselves, and other road users.


They are #OverDemandPastCapacity

@unisonscot have created this as an anchor message so our members can let you know each time they miss one.


They will reply below in the comments with

1) Their station & shift

2) If they have DATEX/ Fatigue Reported

3) Whether they missed a full/part break

#OverDemandPastCapacity "

As the post says we want you to respond in the comments each time you miss a rest break with a short bit of info.

We understand how frustrated everyone is but please keep any responses professional, factual and impersonal.

Just your station, weather you reported it and weather you missed a full or part break and if you managed to take it later that shift.

UNISON want to highlight the state of this issue to management and the wider public and this is one way we will do it.

Please share this with colleagues in case they have missed it.

2. Post a selfie to Facebook or Twitter

When its safe to do so, post a photo of yourself on Facebook or Twitter.

(If you’re not sure how to do this then just WhatsApp your selfie and what you want to say to 075 11 075356 and our Local Organiser Adrian can take it from there)


If you have access to a printer then you can do it holding one of the posters on our campaign page (here below).

If you do not have a printer then you could display and hold up a tablet, second phone or computer screen.

Alongside your photo put some short details. You could use the below as a guide. The @ bit before UNISON is important and allows you to tag in the UNISON branch.


What you could type (just a suggestion but remember - keep it professional :) )

I'm a (Your job) for Scottish Ambulance Service & a @UnisonSAS member.

The situation around rest breaks has become a crisis.

Crews frequently miss designated rest periods. This puts us, patients & public at risk.


I call on management to fix this before someone gets hurt or worse.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Our Campaign Posters
Share on Twitter or Facebook and pass to colleagues

(Right click or press and hold to download)


Rest Breaks – Don’t end up needing an ambulance yourself

Dear member,


Rest Breaks – Don’t end up needing an ambulance yourself

Many of you have been in touch to share your view that all hell is breaking loose around meal breaks,  yes that recurrent issue.

Towards the end of 2019, problems around meal breaks came to a head, with members saying they had had enough, with a strength of feeling being demonstrated in a consultative ballot. This led to talks with the employer, the trade unions and ACAS with a view of reaching a way forward and avoiding a move to full Industrial Action ballot.

As an attempt to resolve the dispute, UNISON and the other trade unions proposed a 6-hour cut off point within the shift. It was hoped that the cut-off point would help…do this…, leading to a safer and healthier environment for patients and staff.

Scottish Ambulance Service management committed at the meeting with ACAS to explore this and the impact this would have on delivering the service.

Having picked up your messages and spoken to a few of you over the last few days, UNISON immediately called for a meeting with the employer. That meeting took place last Wednesday and UNISON and the other trade unions outlined our concerns. Despite reassurances given at the time that this would be done, it came to light at the meeting last Wednesday that management are still to deliver on their commitment nearly 2 years later.

Unfortunately, despite lengthy discussion, UNISON remains deeply dissatisfied, with the approach management intend to take.

Management made several proposals to unions, from promises to increase resources (covered by overtime), to blind assurances that it will get better soon when the service recruit more staff soon, but we have been here before, with promises of a better world that never materialise. There was even rumours of managers making offers to open a mobile sandwich and crisp tuck shop.

However, munching a packet of crisps at the side of the road, or wolfing a sandwich down your neck in the car between calls does not cut the definition of a rest break. Not by a long shot.

This point seems to be missed by many in management and our UNISON members are continually not getting a rest break at appropriate times.

Management have suggested a range of appropriate places to take rest breaks including the hospital canteen, back to station or visiting your favourite restaurant. However all of this is completely irrelevant if crews don’t get time to take a break, eat and rest.

UNISON believe none of the suggested proposals put forward offered any solution to the immediate issue.

Colleagues are currently being pushed to the limit due to lack of proper rest periods. This is negatively impacting on the health, safety, and wellbeing of all of us, and is now compromising patient safety. Crews do a difficult and demanding job and have to do it at speed. The service will provide the said proposals in writing.


UNISON will consult with you when we receive them. Please follow our UNISON branch Facebook and twitter accounts for updates.


Facebook -


Twitter -


UNISON have advised the employer their refusal to tackle the lack of rest periods shows total contempt for our members Health, Safety and Wellbeing. UNISON have told management that we believe they are failing in their duty of care to their wider workforce.


UNISON have informed management that we will be issuing advice to our members around managing their Health & Safety and in turn the welfare of patients.


If you become fatigued due to a lack of adequate rest break.

If due to not receiving a rest break you or a colleague become fatigued, a hazard to yourselves (colleagues) or others patients or the public then you should immediately utilise all the relevant and current policies and procedure available to you i.e. Health & Safety and the Fatigue policy.


In these circumstances you should:

  1. Report crew fatigue by contacting control and booking off

  2. Return to your designated station for a reasonable, undisturbed rest. When you are no longer fatigued book back on.

  3. If you felt your H&S was at risk then report the issue as a near miss. If patient safety was at risk then submit a DATEX – We have a duty to report risk to patients but additionally It’s Really important for UNISON that the issue gets evidenced.

UNISON will continue to press management to take their responsibility for Health & Safety seriously. We will continue to escalate this over the coming days.

In the meantime please keep an eye on branch communication channels and we will update you soon.