Investigative Journalism

Not quite Watergate

The Sunday Express duo of James Murray and David Paul have been digging up more dirt on the ambulance service.

Our investigation reveals a catalogue of worrying cases we have uncovered in a public service which is now itself in need of emergency treatment. [my emphasis]

You can read the full article from the Sunday Express and revel in all the facts that Murray and Paul have uncovered. It’s amazing – all of these cases have been in the public domain this week.

Even more startling though is their conclusion is that I provide second class care. Never mind that I’m a paramedic of 10 years standing and an ECP to boot – that fact that I work as a solo response on a car means I’m just not up there with a double EMT crew.

“now it is feared that staff in the cars do not provide the best care at the scene and simply do not compare with two-crew teams.”

Well that says it all then – might as well not bother.

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10 Responses to Investigative Journalism

  1. Donkey says:

    As usual, the press have missed the real problem in their sensationalist reporting. They are pointing the blame at the service, rather than the public who call us out for, and tie double-crewed vehicles up with, dross like minor cut fingers, 3-day-old ankle pains, itchy teeth and fire in belly. We also seem to spend a large amount of time transporting GP-booked patients who walk on and off the ambulance and whose relatives follow behind in a car. On one memorable occasion I had a patient who had attended an out-of-hours clinic during the night, been told he had to go in to hospital, and had then driven seven miles home to wait for an ambulance to come four hours later. The out-of-hours clinic was two miles from the hospital. We had to pass it on the way.

    I agree that having two crews on break at the time at the same station shouldn’t happen, but I wonder how many other crews would have been able to respond more quickly had they not been committed with inappropriate calls? Maybe the investigation should also look at whether closer crews were dealing with calls that didn’t warrant an ambulance?

    And I wonder who the finger of blame will be pointed at when a crew are involved in an RTC after working 11 hours without a rest break? If an HGV driver drove for that long (yes, I know we aren’t driving constantly, but the concentration levels are comparable) and was caught he/she would be prosecuted for it.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  2. Kingmagic says:

    With the AMPDS sending us to crap, crap and more crap with the odd true emegency showing then crews are going to get hacked off when turned out from a break for a minor injury/ailment.

    The thing is because these serious calls get missed and the patient suffers then management will have no choice but to send us out on standby all shift. That leads to the question of…”do we need ambulance stations?” So all the stations will be sold off to claw back money for the PCTs.

    The quip about a two man crew is better than a single paramedic harks back to the old days when RRVs/RFUs were first introduced. It was new and there was a fair amount of resistence from crews/unions and others who dont like change.

    But people started to like the RRV/RFUs as they were able to stand crews down from minor injuries etc so enabling them to get their breaks.

    At some time there is not going to be enough ambulances to meet the demand. And compound this with the ruling on breaks it is bound to lead to tragedy. But to write off the RRV/RFUs as being ineffective is out of order.

    Where I think it falls down is using the RRV/RFUs for cover and tying up crews with admissions/urgents/after treatments/discharges/outpatients etc. and allowing GPs to order an ambulance when the family have their own transport.

    More RRV/RFUs is good, but not at the expense of ambulances.
    Further training in minor injuries will help keep people at home.
    Back up from management is a must if a job goes tits up.
    We need breaks to relax/wind down/chill out but most of all to take on fuel ie. food!

    At the end of the day we are in a “demand driven service” but that demand is being made worse by the amount of garbage we get sent to…….

  3. ecparamedic says:

    We wouldn’t be going to crap if the crap didn’t keep ringing 999…………

    I’m finding the current use of FRUs confusing, Control seems to change it’s mind regularly about how they are going to manage us, a cynic could think they were making it up as they go along.

  4. Iain MacBain says:

    I agree with everything. I understand that in Edinburgh all stations are being merged into one, with standby points at fire stations. Everybody knows it wont work and the staff, who are all against it, were not consulted untill the plans had been finalised.

    God bless management and their arogant fu## witted little piss ass brains.

  5. Millietant says:

    I don’t understand why more of the crap ie. discharges, outpatients, transfers etc.. isn’t always passed to the pts/hdu’s, unless the overtime ban and less buses on the road has something to do with it.
    There were rumours of merging with fire stations in our area (bring it on!)
    A li’l eye candy for the ladies would solve sickness levels in no time.

  6. >> There were rumours of merging with fire stations in our area

    We had crews on fire stations all over the West Midlands until late 2005. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. They get pissed off with your phone ringing all the time, they get pissed off when you wake them up on nights, they get pissed off when you watch their TV; one trumpton even complained at me because my boots squeaked on the floor walking through the corridors.

    Best thing West Mids ever did was to bring the fire stations back in.

  7. Millietant says:

    Sorry, I didn’t make it clear i was joking and it was probably poor taste anyway. Even i can see it would be a bad idea that puts cost cutting above working conditions. (Damn it)

  8. […] posted about the meal break fiasco the other day. Tom Reynolds has, as always, posted an excellent article […]

  9. kevinmillhill says:

    “When you’re up to your arse in alligators, it’s hard to remember that you actually came here to drain the swamp”. I hate to harp on, but I’ve been in my Service for nearly 20 years, and I have a good memory for the history of change. RRUs, FRVs, RRVs – call them what you will – were invented just as devices to play the DoH at its own silly game of “Targets”. They were to be cheap, cheerful, equipped to the minimum, manned by the one-legged blind, and intended as a weapon of last resort. Our “proper” response always was to be an ambulance; the RRU was to be winched out only when the cleaner couldn’t find a bicycle, a radio, and the station first aid kit.
    Despite all this being made very plain from Day1, the youth of the time saw RRUs as “glamorous”; worse still, in Scotland, many of the original RRU posts were “dedicated” – ie once you were an RRU pilot, you were off ambulances for ever, and would have to apply for the next advertised job to get back on again.
    Anyway, having grown handlebar moustaches, bought their silk scarves, and practised saying “Wizard Prang” instead of “RTA”, our would-be roadside surgeons then found themselves sitting on their bums all day doing bugger all, while the double-crewed “heavies” continued to lumber in and out, carrying out raids on the 999-dialling public – BECAUSE THAT WAS WHAT WAS MEANT TO HAPPEN. Thus, after a year or so, the only shine left was on the seats of the pants of the RRU Brigade; in short order thereafter, the RRUs – and their crews – quietly rusted their way into the main fleet.
    In summary, then, the Express has actually got one thing right (well, it had to eventually – law of averages); it’s just that its timing is 10 years out of date. The RRU is NOT as good as a double-crewed ambulance for the simple reason that it was never intended to be. Assisted by turnover of staff, short memories, and various other human failings, people have consistently deluded themselves into believing that the RRU concept is something other than what it is, and that we are somehow being let down because the bosses are purchasing Kia Picantos instead of Honda CRVs. We are not; the RRU concept is close kin to those cardboard police cars you see beside the autobahn; RRUs were never intended to be “real” ambulances.
    Sorry, but it’s true.

  10. Famous Inventors

    Famous Inventors

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