AMBULANCE staff in Yorkshire have been told their jobs and pay conditions are under threat as the service is forced to find millions in savings over the next five years.

The stark warning comes in a letter sent from the Unison public service union to its members in Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS). The letter, sent last week from branch manager Bryn Webster, also tells ambulance staff that the “real world is about to hit them”.

Mr Webster said: “We may have to discuss things that we would normally not go near but in the world we live in today the alternative could be that we lose jobs instead.

“YAS ambulance staff are on some of the best terms and conditions in the country and we will do all that we can to retain as much as we can but it will not be easy.”

Unison claims YAS must find savings of about £40 million over the next five years and has now called a mass meeting to be held in York, later this month to allow members to agree a mandate for future negotiations with the trust.

One anonymous paramedic said: “It seems that government ministers, doctors, bankers and other so-called professionals can carry on taking big salaries and living live as though nothing is wrong, in effect taking the cream and leaving us with the leftovers.”

Rod Barnes, director of finance and performance at YAS NHS Trust, said: “Due to budget cuts across the public sector, like many organisations, over the next few years we have to find ways to make the necessary savings and we are developing plans to look at ways in which this can be achieved.

“We have initiated a Cost Improvement Programme to help us generate savings and throughout this process, we will continue to look at ways to deliver services more efficiently and protect frontline services for patients. We will continue with recruitment for frontline staff and it is our intention not to detract from providing high-quality clinical care for our patients.”