I've just seen Tonight With Trevor McDonald.
The programme does give the impression that if you get a Paramedic then you are guaranteed to survive, while if you get an EMT then you just have a 'stretcher monkey' and. will. DIE.
It also confuses 'Heart attack' and 'Cardiac arrest' and I believe that there is research that you are more likely to survive a cardiac arrest if you are attended to by a double technician crew.
You have read my blog, you know the truth.
The problem is this – it's down to the money that the government gives us (or rather doesn't). If we had enough money then we would have paramedics all over the place, an ambulance on every street corner. Hell, give us enough money and we'll see about getting a doctor on every ambulance. There is a limit to how much money you can throw at an ambulance service.
We don't have enough money to provide the service that the government wants. It wants us to reach calls in under 8 minutes, so we split ambulance crews to put them on cars. We can't afford to train people up to Paramedic (because where are the wages going to come from?). We can't spare the people off the road to train them up, we need them manning ambulances now. Because of our chasing of (pointless) government targets the people who would train paramedics are being used to man FRUs and ambulances.
A friend of mine has been given the go ahead to train up to paramedic. His course starts in April next year.
Ah damn it – you've heard it all before, pointless targets, not enough money, raised expectations; just search this site for whenever I mention the word 'Government' to read my views about it.
The real problem is that there isn't enough ambulances and ambulance staff and those that we do have are run ragged dealing with crap calls.
The LAS has released a Press statement.
There are a number of issues that we would like to clarify following the broadcast of last night’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald ‘Paramedic Lottery’ programme.
Director of Operations, Martin Flaherty, said:
“Reference was made to London having a smaller percentage of paramedics among frontline staff than any other ambulance service.
“Firstly, our ratio is actually higher than the 34 per cent quoted in the programme when account is taken of our training staff and other managers with paramedic skills who also respond to emergency calls. Equally importantly, the figure itself is quite misleading, as we know that in the last six weeks we have had a paramedic working on an average of 60 per cent of our ambulances and 50 per cent of our fast response cars.
“We also believe that the programme downplayed the role of our emergency medical technicians and did not fully explain the extent of their training and skills, which enable them to provide life-saving treatment in the majority of medical and traumatic emergencies.
“As far as the tragic case of Kayleigh Macilwraith-Christie is concerned, we carried out a full investigation into our response to her and shared our findings with her family. We have always recognised that she could have benefited from treatment by a paramedic, although there is no way of knowing if this could have helped save her life.
“An ambulance with a paramedic on board was originally dispatched to the call, but the crew came across a serious road traffic collision and stopped to assist. A second ambulance was subsequently sent to attend Kayleigh, but this did not have a paramedic on it.
“We have since reviewed our response protocols for patients reported to be suffering a prolonged epileptic seizure or series of seizures, and have put in place procedures to ensure that control room staff will always look to send a paramedic to the relatively small number of calls we receive to these patients every year.
“We are also continuing to discuss with various bodies the possibility of emergency medical technicians being able to administer anti-convulsant drugs in the future.
“Every year our service responds to more than 300,000 emergency calls which are categorised as being potentially life-threatening, and the increased survival rates of patients who suffer cardiac arrests – doubled in the last eight years – is testament to the skills of all our frontline staff.
“We will continue to strive to improve the care we provide to all our patients, aiming to ensure that they get the most appropriate response for their needs.”
* For the future – and in partnership with our staff’s union representatives – we are looking to review the make-up of our workforce, and this will include a significant increase in the number of paramedics.
We currently employ more than 1,000 paramedics, and by March next year this figure will increase to about 1,200. By 2012/13 we envisage we will employ in the region of 1,900 paramedics.
With their enhanced paramedic skills, more of our staff will be able to diagnose and treat patients with a wider range of conditions and, instead of taking them to hospital, will ensure they get more appropriate care for their needs – either at home, through a referral to their GP or social services, or at minor injuries units or NHS Walk-in centres.
* Trainee emergency medical technicians undertake a 16-week training course. This includes a one week induction, followed by a three-week advanced driving module, then 12-weeks’ intensive training and education in the following areas:
o airway management and resuscitation including the use of airway adjuncts
o treating wounds and bleeding
o treating infectious diseases
o respiratory and circulatory systems including cardiac care, asthma, chest injuries and drowning
o musculoskeletal trauma such as broken bones
o maternity and neo-natal resuscitation
o paediatric care
o nervous systems and nervous disorders such as epilepsy
o digestive problems
o dealing with casualties at major incidents
o care of the elderly
o care of mental health patients
They then go on to undertake a minimum of five weeks' operational training, working as part of a crew attending emergency calls. Throughout this period they are accompanied by an experienced member of staff who supervises them and monitors their progress.
Emergency medical technicians are legally able to administer a wide range of drugs to treat conditions such as asthma, diabetes, severe allergic reaction, drug (opiate) overdose, certain cardiac conditions and are able to give basic analgesic and oxygen gases.
They are also trained in 12-lead ECG acquisition and interpretation, enabling them to make key decisions about the care and treatment of cardiac patients.