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Human Resource Management and East Midlands Ambulance Essay

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1. Executive summary

The purpose of this report is to investigate the human resource management (HRM) problems that the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) is experiencing. One of the issues EMAS is experiencing is paramedics possess a lack of motivation and commitment to the job consequently causing a rise in absence. This is caused by the new budgets cuts enforced on the NHS and is impacting on the paramedic’s working life such as, cancellation of allocated break times. Another problem they are facing is the human resource department has been downsized therefor there is one HR manager and adviser covering 3 counties.

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This is causing work relations between HR and line managers to break down due to not enough HR staff to support every individual station. It is recommended that HR should allocate time to each station to support managers and employees and directors come to an agreement to give employees their breaks. There is additional web information to support the concepts chosen to analyse the problem. These are www.telegraph.co.uk/article/absenteeism and www.thefreelibaray.com/psycologicalcontacts.

2. Problem identification and analysis

The new budget cuts to the National Health Service (NHS) are causing many changes throughout the organisation; one sector of the organisation being highly effected is the Ambulance service. Throughout the East Midlands Ambulance Service many cost efficient changes are taking place, however they still have to meet the same standards of performance to meet their annual targets so that they will receive the same budget for the service next year if the targets are not met the budget each year will decrease. Major changes to EMAS include:

* No allocated break times and lunch times. The directors say paramedics are to have their breaks and lunch aboard the ambulance between jobs ‘’when they get a minute’’ however due to the increase in emergency calls, reports revealed that some paramedics were not having lunch at all throughout a 12 hour shift. This is a breach of not only their written employment contract but their psychological contract as well. * Human resources has been downsized, there were HR managers and advisers for every county over the east midlands. The new change saw one HR manager and one HR adviser covering 3 counties and researched showed that employees felt like they had no one to turn to for advise as there HR department was far too busy for individual employee needs.

This is making it very difficult for the HR department to focus on what is demotivating the employees causing absenteeism. Even though there have been many other changes to EMAS these are the priority because the result of these changes has had an immense impact on absence and sick leave, as employees are not satisfied with the new conditions to their job description. The new changes to EMAS are causing a vast chain reaction throughout the organisation mainly because most of the changes are hugely breaching employee’s psychological contract. The terms they were expecting to have when they were first employed by EMAS has now been removed for example if a paramedic were to smoke there breaks they used to get off the ambulance for refreshments etc. have now been removed they are expected to remain on board the ambulance.

Such a breach would have a massive impact on their commitment to the job as they would feel that the employer has been disloyal to them and not having care for the job would lead them to take unnecessary time off. The HR department cutbacks have had a big impact to not only employees but their line mangers to. HR are finding it difficult to attain any spare time to meet with the managers to discuss recent problems/procedures therefore all the contact is being made thought documents and letters leaving the managers confused about dealing with their team. The managers are being put under a great deal of stress as their employee expectations have been disregarded. Managers expect to have the HR department at hand for advice on employee problems and procedure. Not having this is not the job expectation they had when they first started.

3. Recommendations

Solutions to these problems are very complex and the most obvious solutions are obstructed by the budget cuts. Yes the HR department need more advisers covering each county but unfortunately that cannot occur, instead propose a new system as to where the HR department travels to each station, maybe 1 district a day, to assist the line managers and provide them with up to date policies and procedures. They could also enlist employee time to discuss and problems they are facing and offer advice. This could help to build the relationships that are currently being strained. Also arranging for back to work interviews and help schemes for absentees could help to make them feel more empowered and feel the organisation really needs them back to work giving the employee a sense of purpose.

As for the impractical break times for paramedics, give them a designated time to eat their lunch and have their breaks in a suitable environment, whilst one team is having a break have another standing in but make sure that whether on a break or not they must always make themselves available should they be needed. A breach in written/psychological contracts like this is unacceptable for the organisation to enforce upon the employees. The research carried out by Steers and Rhodes (1978) on absenteeism is what this organisation should follow because the employee’s ability to do the job is becoming complicated by a breach in job expectation, not resting on break creating role stress etc. therefor rescinding the employee’s motivation to work. Studying this research could open up compromises for the managers and their employees.


The web page studied to back up the concept of absenteeism is www.telegraph.co.uk/article/absenteesim on the 26/11/2012 showed that the main cause for absenteeism was work related stress. This web page has been selected to back up the concept of absenteeism because work related stress can be through unsatisfied job expectation and losing commitment to the role maybe through breaking of a psychological contract. This information was also backed up by the web page www.ukessays.co.uk 26/11/2012 which proves the information is a reliable source. The second concept chosen in this report is psychological contracts and web page chosen is www.thefreelibrary.com/psycologicalcontracts 26/11/2012. This page studied what would be a breach of a psychological contract. This information came from an article written by Pittensburg State University and has been back up by other sources mentioned in the article therefore is a reliable source.


Pittensburg State University. (2010). Psychological contracts. www.thefreelibrary.com/psychologicalcontracts. Last accessed 26 Nov 2012. Preston, D (2012). Book 2 An introduction to human resource management in business. p9-22. Steers, R. M. and Rhodes, S. R. (1978) ‘Major influences on employee attendance: a process model’ Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 63, No4, pp. 391-407 The Telegraph. (2011). Absenteeism. www.telegraph.co.uk/absenteeism. Last accessed 26 Nov 2012. UK essays. (2003). concepts of absenteeism. www.ukessays.co.uk. Last accessed 26 Nov 2012.

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