December 12th, 2008

To you, no to you

A few years back I was single-crewed on nights, working my usual area. This wasn’t unusual. We had to rely on backup from one of 3 or 4 other police stations.

I got a call to an RTC on the border of our force & the one next door. When I got there, an ambo crew were already on scene. It was an injury RTC, a girl was in the ambo & another was being treated in the car. There was nothing unusual except that the ambo crew were really anti. Any questions I asked were met with terse, unhelpful replies & within a few minutes it was clear that a) I wasn’t welcome and b) I wasn’t going to get any assistance.

I was so surprised at the attitude of the crew, as I generally had a good relationship with the local ambo crews & knew them by first name in many cases, that I went back to the nick to try to find out what was wrong. After a while, I rang the ambo station to speak with the paramedic who had been so rude to tell him that I wasn’t very happy with the way he spoke to me and to ask why he was like that. (I didn’t feel it appropriate to do so in front of his patients at the time).

It was then that I found out that he had been wound up by the goings-on in the background between his control room, our control room & the force next door. Apparently, they had been arguing between themselves as to whose ground it was. As I recall, it was actually in the area of no-man’s land between the borders & each force was saying it was the other’s & declining to send anyone. This had been going on for about half an hour. I, quite innocently, took the full brunt of the paramedic’s ire.

Which historical meanderings brings me round to today’s blog. Ambo crews.

Specifically, ambo crews or possibly control rooms, who decline to attend incidents unless they have police backup.

Apparently, people are dying because ambo crews won’t enter houses until a police officer arrives. This presents a problem if there is either no police officer present or police don’t believe they should attend. The case linked to is about someone who hung themselves and an inquest is currently being fought out between the police who are saying the ambo crew were more concerned for their own welfare than that of the patient and the ambulance staff who are saying police refused to assist them & send officers.

It’s not a healthy position to be, but I expect the blame culture is such that the regular course of action is not to accept any blame & get someone else to take the wrap. Police & Ambulance crews work together on so many occasions and very often need the assistance of each other. It won’t be nice when one or other needs some help & the next person to turn up is one who has been on the wrong end of a previous decision not to assist the other.

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