A short break from the NaNoWriMo posts so that I can tell you about two rumours that I've heard. Note that these are rumours, if I had the time/energy/inclination I'd check them out to see if they are true, instead I'm just relying on the trust I have in the person who told me them.
If anyone knows if these rumours are untrue, feel free to let me know.*
Rumour number one is that a man from the Department of Health visited the ambulance service recently and told people that the moment the government changes (i.e Britain has a collective brain fart and a memory wipe of the last tory government and votes in the Conservatives) the London Ambulance Budget will be cut by £25 million.
This despite hitting our (stupid and clinically irrelevant) targets, despite ever increasing calls and despite the suspected pigocalypse of everyone calling an ambulance when they thing they have swine 'flu.
Additionally, somewhere out there in 'I could find it if I had the energy to Google it-land', is the government plan that a certain percentage of A&E ambulance work should be done by private ambulance firms paid for out of our budget and you can see that we will be going for the cheapest bid, which is never a good sign of quality.
Oh, and I nearly forgot – we have the Olympics coming up soonish.
The second rumour is to do with a bit of our kit changing. This rumour however has been repeated by several people, including officers. The rumour is that because too many are going missing we will be doing away with our electronic blood sugar machines which are quick, accurate and easy to use in any circumstance. Instead we will be going back to the old chemical dipsticks that you have to wait two minutes for the result, and the result is a range of values that you read by comparing the colour of the stick to a chart.
Which doesn't work all that well, I think, considering half the time we are working in 'less than optimal' lighting conditions.
Also the dipsticks are also apparently far cheaper. And much less accurate.
Instead money is being spent on filter masks to protect me** from a milder, less fatal 'flu than is normally present at this time of the year.
So, less money, less effective equipment and more calls. Probably less training due to the lack of money (training is normally the first thing to be cut). I can see us going back to being men with vans and bandages. Except of course that someone in government wants us to do the GP role on the cheap, but without the training is that really safe?
To be honest I'm getting past caring. The few improvements that we've had in the service have constantly been overshadowed by new policies and ways of working that seem to exist only to destroy morale and chase unscientific government targets. We are being expected to do more for a frozen pay and with equipment that is falling apart.***
Why should I care any more? I can't do anything to change anything. Instead I should just turn up to work, pick up people who think that they are sick and take them to hospital. Then come home and watch some TV and forget about the feverish children that I couldn't record a temperature on because we didn't have a working thermometer.
Why should I get angry over it when I can't change it?
*LAS management don't talk to me, they mostly ignore me, so I don't expect any confirmation/denial. Here is a challenge to my management – deny that either of these rumours are going to happen – here and in public. I'd ask you myself, but the organisational chart is so complex I don't know who'd I'd need to talk to.
**Sadly not only is my face such a strange shape that I can't get a mask to properly secure, but in attempting to get it fitted I managed to break my glasses.
*** An example – We drove the newest ambulance in the fleet, around 1,500 miles on the clock. We had to take it off the road twice in two days for various faults and, looking at the logbook, these were not new problems. Thank you Mercedes.