Privatisation of emergency services - PSIRU report 2009

This paper examines the extent of privatisation in the ambulance, emergency and firefighting services in Europe. Ambulance and firefighting services are the two main services, with both services often involved in emergency services. EPSU considers that firefighting, ambulance and other emergency services are public services. Workers in these services should have the same trade union rights as other workers. EPSU has noticed that there has been an increase in private sector provision in these services. In order to understand these development better, EPSU is making this report available.

How these services are organised and funded has some influence on the process of privatisation. Local authorities played an important role in the development of both ambulance and firefighting services. The paper starts with an outline of how firefighting and ambulance services are organised, followed by profiles of the multi-national companies involved.