We had an accident on one of the major roads this week, at work that is, not personally. It wasn’t particularly serious but one of the drivers sustained a head injury.
An ambulance was called. After about 20 minutes we called ambo control to find out an ETA for said ambulance to be told that they didn’t have one available.
The officer continued on with their dealing, making things safe, putting on lane closures, moving vehicles out of the carriageway, calling garages, taking details from those involved. Another 15 minutes later we rang the ambo control again, they still didn’t have a free ambulance. They rang us 10 minutes later to say they now had a free ambulance.
The ambulance arrived on scene 65 minutes after they were called. This was a head injury on one of the busiest roads in the force area and the guy had to wait 65 minutes. I’m not aware the ambulance control ever knew what the level of injury was, they don’t take many details and apart from asking of someone is conscious and breathing every bloody time you call them, I don’t think anyone knew the level of injury when they were called.
Anyway, I’ve noticed over the last few months that this is happening more and more. In my first few years in the control room it never happened. I can’t recall ever being told that there was no ambulance available. So when it happened for the first time earlier this year it was quite a shock. Then it started happening more often.
We had another case this week where someone was quite badly injured. We didn’t want to move them prior to a paramedic checking them out, again no ambulance was available and the officers took the decision to put the victim in the police car and take them to hospital themselves. Who knows what position they’d be in if their actions caused further injury or worse.
I have no idea about the internal machinations of the ambulance service. I can only presume that they are being subjected to similar cuts in service as the police. Doubtless, if they are, the ambulance senior managers are spouting forth about how they can manage without affecting front line service, at the same time as front line service is being affected. It can’t be a coincidence that we are getting more and more calls from ambo control saying they don’t have anyone to send.