I am sure that quite a few people must have seen the item that ITV London News covered in yesterday’s evening news, about the current waiting times for the arrival of emergency ambulances.
In particular, a chap whose son tragically died following a heart attack, went on to state that, words to the effect; ‘each time he saw an ambulance on blue lights, it made him think ‘why couldnt you do that for my son’… I really felt for this individual, as I am sure many people did. He had called 999, but the arrival of the ambulance was delayed.
Having worked in the front-line emergency services myself, in an inner-London Borough for ten years, I am acutely aware of one of the main reasons for the delay often experienced in the emergency services arriving at those (genuine) calls when the emergency services are needed the most: time wasters.
The people who dial 999 just because they want someone to speak to. The people who dial 999 because they want an ambulance to convey them to hospital, in the misguided belief that they think that because they have arrived at hospital via an ambulance, then they will be seen quicker. You WONT get seen quicker.
The time wasters who dial 999 because they have stubbed their toe. The time wasters who dial 999 because they cannot get to sleep. The time wasters who dial 999, because of a ‘nasty’ paper cut. The absolute cretins, who dial 999 purely because their lives are that boring, that their only source of ‘excitement’, is to see an emergency vehicle turn up with blue lights and sirens. How sad.
And let us not forgot, the sections of society who go out in an evening, get wasted on drink and/or drugs, and then expect the emergency services to nanny them back to their beds. There should be a separate Ambulance Service for this category of individual, that is paid for on a ‘call out’ basis by the very people who cannot control themselves on a night out.
Whilst time wasters are not the ONLY cause of the response time issue, they are a massive part of it. And, more often than not, they are allowed, time and time again, to get away with it. I know this, because I have seen it with my own eyes.
But let us not forget, the conditions which, in this case, our brave oppos in the London Ambulance Service have to work in. The pathetic ‘pay rises’ which have never happened. The fact that many Paramedics have left these shores, owing to the fact that they ARE undervalued, overworked and that they ARE underpaid.
A few years ago, many Medics left the LAS to join the emergency services in countries like Dubai. And who can blame them. They joined the ambulance service to save lives, but the ridiculous obsession with targets and bureaucracy means that, most of the time, the brave men and women of the London Ambulance Service (as well as other Ambulance Trusts) are left filling out forms and covering their arses through fear of the many vultures circling directly overhead.
Governments, both past and present, have A LOT to answer for. Their complete lack of understanding, in relation to the conditions which our “ambulance drivers” (a phrase coined by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt) have to face, is a disgrace. EVERY politician, MUST be made to spend a Friday or Saturday with our emergency services, so that they can truly understand what they have to face and endure, day after day. So that they can gain an insight into just how let down our emergency services feel.
Medics join the ambulance service, because they want to save lives. No one should ever criticise the job they have to do, unless the critics have actually gone out, and done a shift with them.
It was only two days ago, that I wrote another article about how a 19-year-old girl in Croydon, was given a SUSPENDED sentence after she punched a Paramedic in the face. And that was the SECOND time she had been arrested for lashing out at medics. What sort of message does this send, to the type of individuals who think that assaulting our emergency services is in some way ‘ok’?
And who has forgotten the disgusting, sick and vile attack on a lone female LAS Paramedic Responder, who was waved down by the worst of humanity, only to be attacked by individuals who should replace the poor animals which are being tested on in laboratories around the Country.
Things MUST change, but it is only the Government who can make the changes which are necessary. But I, personally, do not have ANY faith that those in Government can sort the situation out. Because they do not understand what needs to be done. If you do not understand the problem, how can you fix it?
Time and time again, we hear that Politicians go into Politics because they ‘want to make a change’. Well, I hear from hundreds of front-line emergency services personnel on a weekly basis via our Emergency Services Humour page on Facebook. And, alas, the changes are not happening. So ‘something’ has and is going terribly wrong.
Those who have the power to change things, should cut through the layers, and layers of Management who (more often than not) twist and contort the messages coming back from the front line. Why do they twist and contort these messages? Because they do not want to look bad. Their reputation (in some cases) is more important to them, than the welfare of the staff which they are entrusted by us (the Taxpayer) to look after.
Those who have the power to change things, MUST speak DIRECTLY to the people on the front line; the thin green line. That is the ONLY way they will be able to understand what the issues are, and what needs to be done to sort the situation out. Get rid of the misnomer that is ‘Political Correctness’, and replace it with common sense. THE most undervalued commodity that is absent from the plethora of Management….
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I am very sorry for the loss of your patient. I am disgusted the way the government treats you. On 3 occasions I have had to call you, two were for asthma, I was really bad and one for an abdomen problem, ended in surgery. I have on occasions got a taxi to the hospital only to be severely told off that asthma attacks can and are life threatening and I should of dialed 999. Your underpaid and not given the respect you deserve. Thank you all the medics paramedics and control room staff without you a lot more people would suffer.