May 19th, 2012

I can’t understand why there’s no outcry

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I posted in December 2011 and this April about the poor service coming from the ambulance service. It had certainly gotten worse between December and April.

In April I reckoned that I was dealing with about a dozen calls a week where an ambulance wasn’t available, sometimes for quite serious injuries and incidents. I have to say it is almost approaching that number a shift now.

In the last couple of shifts we have had several calls for an ambulance but none were available. An 88 year old lady who had fallen behind locked doors. We forced the front door and called am ambulance. None available.

Elderly man who had fallen in the street, no ambulance available. Victim of a stab wound to the arm, no ambulance available. RTC, person with head and leg injuries, no ambulance available. After 45 minutes of waiting and the third or 4th call from our control room to theirs, still no ambulance available but a request from their controller to call them back if the injuries became life-threatening; presumably they think police officers’ first-aid training, such that it is, would make it clear when someone has an injury that might be life threatening. I know on most occasions I dealt with injuries, unless their head was half hanging off I didn’t have a clue if they were likely to die or waltz off into the sunset singing God Save the Queen.

It’s causing a lot of friction between control rooms. I like to think I’m usually pretty¬†friendly¬†and professional when I speak to people, especially those who are in the same kind of business. But I’m getting pretty pissed of speaking to ambulance controllers who are short, snappy and sometimes just downright rude just because you have the temerity to ask if and when an ambulance might arrive. I know some of my colleagues can be rude and snappy too, but that’s not really an excuse to speak to me like that.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but there seem to be lots more calls where the ambulance is declining to attend in the first until an officer has been because the patient is ‘being violent’. Now there are times when someone is being violent, and situations where I wouldn’t anyone with at least a stab proof vest, a big stick, some pepper spray and may be a Taser, to enter first, but these are not the norm. The amount of jobs we get to where absolutely nothing is happening but the ambo has either not been sent yet, or is sitting in another street, seems to be on the increase. It almost seems like the ambo control is using the police service as a triage nurse to find out whether one is actually needed before they send one.

We’re now recording all incidents where an ambulance is not available, the Association of Chief Police Officers is getting involved, apparently. After all, whenever an ambulance isn’t available, it’s the¬†police¬†who have to pick up the workload. we’re now running people to hospital routinely rather than have an officer wait with the patient. We couldn’t possibly just drive off and tell the patient to wait for an ambo, because if they died it would be our fault.

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  1. Asitis says:

    An excellent post, 200. I have noticed the increases, too. I wonder what G4S will do when they are responding to the incidents you have described?

    May 19th, 2012 at 23:13

  2. Alpha Tango says:

    I was chatting to a paramedic last month with 15 years service, he said the system was falling apart and the answer as far as he could see was.. privatisation!

    May 20th, 2012 at 06:52

  3. Gary says:

    As far as I can see an ideal opportunity for the likes of Dominic Lawson to put his beliefs into action. His take on the public sector was that they are fat and lazy like Greeks wheras the private sector are lean mean fighting machines like the Germans. Total arse but perhaps he would like to suggest a way of sorting it out……………

    May 20th, 2012 at 15:39

  4. WHO DID THE MATHS? says:

    Spot on ,again! Let me first say the crews are first rate, i think a bit like us…. lions lead by donkeys ,but we hada situation not long back where we attended a ‘sudden death’ and in the long of the short were told that no ambulance /doctor/medically qualified person was required to PLE , we did our best to get our point across that seeing as the ‘apparently deceased’ had not officially been pronounced that to take them to the morgue and then do a ‘sudden death report’ msy prove premature and that WE are waitng for a fall because lazarus moments DO happen .So in effect WE were responsible for PLE… there anymore tehy can lump on us ….really?

    May 20th, 2012 at 18:03

  5. MPS(n)P says:

    You must be one of our operators – we now routinely transport people to A&E in our cars and vans because officers are left to their own devices for hours on end.

    When I first joined team 4 years ago I don’t remember ever hearing LAS have NUTD except on the busiest of Saturday night shifts, and then you’d soon get a first-responder or LAS guvnor jumping in a car to come and help us out. Now it’s ‘LAS are only attending life-threatening calls’ at lunchtime during the week, let alone on weekend nights.

    I’m usually wary of ‘my mate said…’ stories, but my mate tells me that LAS will be suffering the same post-sports day ‘reorganisation’ as we will – with private ambulances providing much of the cover in suburban Metrocity. A year ago I would’ve laughed him out of the pub, but now I’m not so sure.

    May 20th, 2012 at 23:17

  6. Norn Iron says:

    Its very much the same over here. From time to time I get drafted into the control room to backfill other Police who are on leave/sick, and its generally on weekend nights that I make an appearance in the ‘blue chair’ as we call it. A few Saturdays ago I was in the hotseat when a report of a serious-possibly fatal single vehicle RTC came in. Rang up Ambo control who told me they had NUTD but ‘could you send someone, have them assess the situation and see if we’re needed’. I was gobsmacked. I sent crews out and it turned out to be a fatal, one of the worst my shift had ever dealt with apparently. Ambo still had noone to send when my crews arrived.

    What I fear is that if ambo have noone to deploy to something that requires their services, and we are send in a crew to deal with whatever awaits us, and something goes wrong, it will be us who is hung out to dry over the whole thing. Response is the sparsely populated scapegoat in the grand pecking order of the Police. We are on the poop deck and other statutory agencies are sh*tting on us from above. I have ultimate respect for ambo crews though – i’m wholly sure that its their higher ups who are decimating their emergency response capability.

    May 21st, 2012 at 01:20

  7. paraplegic says:

    Hi, as an LAS Medic I can confirm the situation is dire at the moment, our colleagues in the MPS are having to wait hours and on numerous occasions are having to transport themselves, this is not confined to MPS, most 999 callers with minor injuries/illnesses are being told the same, we are extremely stretched and under resourced at the moment, and unfortunately, on occasion, we are not able to get to the serious/life threatening calls quickly. We are routinely running long distances as we are so thin on the ground, often running 12-15miles, which was practically unheard of in London until the last 2-3 years

    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:58

  8. Karen says:

    I suppose there is no outcry because no-one (outside the service) knows about it. And altho I understand why you and other commentators talk of the police being the ones who will be hung out to dry, in all honesty the people being hung out to dry(die) are the poor sods needing the help. I know that on the 2 or 3 occasions when I have been in need of help (going into labour with 1st baby and terrified, for instance) I was pathetically grateful for anything I got, so so happy to see someone (eventually) it never occurred to me to grumble about the wait AND – and this is the point – it never crossed my mind that my experience was general: I just assumed the delay was a one-off because people were busier with others whose needs were greater. I didn’t know it was systematic. That’s why there isn’t an outcry. Yet.

    May 23rd, 2012 at 18:37

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