I am really starting to feel for our colleagues on the #ThinGreenLine in the West Midlands area. Not only do their crews seem to bear the brunt of verbal and physical attacks, but it would now seem that the local authority is also out to do their legs in as well.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) aren’t getting fined for their vehicles ‘just’ using the bus lanes. They are getting fined for using bus lanes whilst on EMERGENCY CALLS!
In one incident, WMAS was slapped around the face with a fine, after one of their vehicles dared to use the bus lane, whilst en-route to a 16-year old girl who was unconscious.
They (WMAS) are receiving up to 15 fines per day, for using the lane near Heartlands Hospital in Bordesley Green.
Imagine being the individual who is tasked with checking to see if the emergency vehicle was on blue lights as it travelled through the bus lane, and upon seeing that the blue lights were indeed on, decides to issue a ticket anyway!
I wonder how they would feel if it was their family member who was being rushed to hospital in the back of the ambulance at the time?
Just exactly where do Birmingham City Council suggest ambulances should drive, when they are on emergency calls and there is gridlock traffic? on the grass? on the pavement? or perhaps even on the wrong side of the road?
While the £60 fines are being cancelled for blue light jobs (only after an appeal), the service is still forking out a mountain of cash. WMAS said Birmingham City Council was not ‘morally right’ and claimed it had not been consulted over the introduction of bus lane cameras.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘The Trust is extremely disappointed that ambulances travelling on blue lights have been receiving fines for using a bus lane near to a major Birmingham Hospital.
‘The Trust is now receiving between 10 and 15 penalty notices a day for vehicles using a bus lane near to Heartlands Hospital; this includes a case where a paramedic officer using blue lights was en route to an unconscious 16-year-old girl with breathing difficulties.
‘The Trust has also recently started to receive a significant number of fines for its patient transport vehicles taking critically unwell patients into hospital for time sensitive treatment who have become stuck in traffic and have used the lane to ensure the patient receives the care that they need.
‘This does not seem morally right when a patient with a minor injury using a Hackney Carriage taxi would be perfectly at liberty to use the bus lane.
A Birmingham City Council spokesman told the Metro:
‘Bus lane enforcement cameras are an important tool in helping to keep the city moving.
‘If emergency vehicles are not displaying blue lights, and therefore not attending an emergency, they are not entitled to drive in bus lanes.
‘Anyone who believes they have received a penalty charge notice unfairly is entitled to appeal against it.
‘We are aware of issues with West Midlands Ambulance Service and are working with them to address this.’
How can it be, that an Ambulance Authority can be fined by another authority? One public service body fining another is a prime example of the bureaucracy which really does plague much of the public service sector.
Is there no common sense left in the world? Taking money from one authority, in order to penalise them for doing the job that they are entrusted to do, is the true definition of an own goal.
The utterly beligerante mind-set needed in order to ‘defend’ such an action, leaves a very bad taste in the mouths of not only our colleagues, but of the British Public too.
Who does Birmingham City Council think actually pays the fines?
And do they not understand, that instead of using the money needed to pay the fine for life-saving vital equipment, they are now having to try and find this money elsewhere!?
As if a cash-strapped emergency service did not have enough to deal with already, in between their crews being assaulted and abused, they now have to deal with being treated like children from the very people we VOTE into power, in order to make our lives better and safer!
We do not vote these individuals into power, so that they can throw their weight around like autocratic bullies, unable to see the wood for the trees.
Written by one of the many Admins of Emergency Services Humour, who is also a regular contributor to our extremely popular eMagazine, ‘S__ts & Giggles’.
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