Happy with A Johnny?

If there is one thing that I think this blog has done, it is to let people know that sometimes people who dial ‘999’ don’t need a blue light emergency ambulance.  As a service we recognise this and so have created job roles for people to do this ‘intermediate’ work.

We also use volunteer ambulance services to prop up assist us in the day to day running of the LAS.

Have a look at this video file (.wmv only – sorry).

It’s a newspiece that has someone complaining that they phoned 999 for an sick relative and were shocked when a St John ambulance turned up.

The man in the report complaining is ex-ambulance service themselves – lets just say that there is a lot of bad blood between some of the LAS road staff and the St John ambulance service.

It dates back to the ambulance dispute of 1989–1990.

So, once more I invite you to look at how the media portrays the ambulance service, in this case it seems a little more balanced.


Of course – they could have always asked me…

22 thoughts on “Happy with A Johnny?”

  1. i had sympathy for him and his view, until he said the ambulance screamed to a halt…….. hello, their ambulances are converted Renault Traffic vans, screeching to start yes, but not stop :)hmmm, i wonder if he's complained to the media and his Commissioner about the use of PCSO's……hmmmm though not

  2. Good point. Personally, if a copper – vol. or not – and I needed their help I'd be happy. Also, what about retained firefighters? Same diff!

  3. Renault Master vans, actually :PAs a SJA member myself, I thought that was a very fair and balanced piece.

    SJA ambulance crews are very thoroughly trained – OK so they're not paramedics (but then many NHS vehicles are crewed by double-technician crews too) but it's a bit more involved than just first aid. The vehicles are designed and equipped to meet European standards and generally the SJA crews can provide most of the treatment that NHS technicians can (except the only drugs they can give are Entonox and paracetamol).

    As the news piece mentioned – if the LAS wasn't overstretched by unnecessary calls (as Reynolds so often discusses), this support by the voluntary societies wouldn't be necessary… but as things stand it seems to meet a need.

  4. People ring 999 and expect an ambulance. They get an ambulance….Whats the problem? Would they be able to differentiate between Mr R turning up in his custard bus? Or me turning up in my PTS motor? Theyre all ambulances? And what about the RRU's ECP's Air Ambulance?I think the public should start to consider the free service they get, and if they want it to get better, stop taking the piss with the 999 calls, give us a break, let us do our job and maybe just maybe they will be able to have 2 Paramedics on every ambulance like they all want, cos apparently EMT's and Urgent Care Assistants are no use.

    Ive lost count of the times, i ahve picked a punter up on PTS and been asked if im a paramedic! Everyone in green shud be one it seems.

  5. Lets hope the whinging git never needs a lifeboat, they might be staffed by, erm, well,volunteers.

  6. Cocks. I am glad the people who wrote in backed up the SJA and make good points about people ringing for unnecessary reasons.

  7. That's a thought. Why don't we see news reports of stranded yachtsmen being rescued by volunteers?

  8. A couple of things that struck me about this…a) Would it have been better if a “paramedic” had taken her to hospital and someone with a heart attack died because no Paramedic was available?

    b) I don't know what it is in this country about the attitude to volunteers?

    The RNLI boat load of volunteers that comes to the rescue of those in distress at sea?

    Every police force in the country uses volunteers, Special Constables. A lot also used highly trained Search and Rescue Teams to look for lost vunerable people. Usually a Association of Lowland Search and Rescue Team. In mountainous areas it is a Moutain Rescue Team – all highly train volunteers.

    At the end of the day and if someone with a lot more medical knowledge and experience than me wants to correct me go for it. The lady did not seem to be in an immediate life threatening emergency. No mention was made of her asking to wait at home until Paramedics became available to take her in.

    I did think it was a balanced report in that they did state a couple of comments that if people stopped abusing the 999 system with LOB calls then maybe the resources such as Paramedics would be available. Alternatively maybe the whingers would like to give more of their wages in taxes to make up the difference.

  9. Firstly. If this concerned son hadn't of had inside knowledge This wouldn't of been a story. It would of been ambulance arrives. Ambulance picks woman up. Women gets taken to hospital. Most people wouldn't spot the difference.but taking the article apart get the following

    You'll note in the intro the woman says that she expects paramedics to turn up every time she phones 999.

    They make it sound like it was passed to SJA without being looked at by LAS personel.

    He appears to be acusing the 'first aiders' of impersonating “paramedics”. Am I guilty of impersonating a paramedic when walking around a first aid event in a big yellow and green jacket with “First Aid” written on it and people call me a paramedic? Am I guilty of impersonating a police officer for those times I have been called a police officer when on duty. I blame the media, calling everybody with any ambulance conection a paramedic. I saw a news of the world story about some celeb that had a minor accident go carting. The story said she was checked out by paramedics when the picture shows two johnnies with black (non HCP) rank slides. Now everybody expects a paramedic to everything and if its not a paramedic it might as well be a cubscout who once did a frist aid badge

    It did make me wonder, that bloke wasn't that old but apparently he was worked his way up to both paramedic and Detective Sergent in this time.

    I think SJA made a mistake in chosing that member to use in the footage (asuming it was chosen by then and not just library footage), since he does live up the the old image of a johnny.

    Ok thats my spleen vented

  10. Last New Years Eve I worked with our local ambulance service as a volunteer crew. We work out of HQ and calls are either screened to us by an officer, or a fast response car with paramedic gets to the job and assesses it as suitable for a volunteer crew, then we get tasked to attend. Due to local restrictions we don't use blues and twos. In the five years I've been doing this only three people have noticed that we weren't paramedics.

  11. At least the piece was fairly balanced.But it annoys so much when “volunteer” is used as a curse word…

    Happens here too. Had a news piece with some plonker from some union having a rant and then said “It's reaching the point where volunteers will be responding to calls” (Shock, horror!)

    It's only been happening in NZ since before there were paid crews (and as the rule, not the exception).

    And as an ex-paramedic he should have known better; if he got a non-paramedic truck than that's what triage gave him.

  12. Oh, and no-one in NZ has any idea what qualification you are and what you can do with it.”Ambulance officer” is the job title, but it's also a St John qualification, as is “Paramedic”

    Doesn't really matter does it? The public generally expects you to go around stabbing adrenaline straight into the heart and defibrillating asystole anyway!

  13. I am a SJA person, trained to ambulance aid level 2 (which basically means that I can go out and support the LAS if necessary). But if this bloke didn't know that for the last 10 years ish, we have been supporting the LAS with their calls. I don't know where he has been? Over events like the marathon and New Year Eve, we have a masive number of ambulances out to support the LAS with their work.I think the comment about pretending to be paramedic, was an emotional over statement, I have never claimed anything like that. When we do turn up to jobs, and the patients are genuinely ill, they are just pleased to see someone who can help!

  14. It's sad his response, but then people with closed minds tend not to see the good volunteers can do.There will always be people that don't see past the end of their nose. Whether it be about the volunteer or the 'paramedic'. There are those in both areas that give their collegues a 'bad' rep. The over enthusiastic volunteer that doesn't understand their limitations, the medic that thinks they are casanova on the job, when there is a wife/girlfriend at home, the general public that insist you know were the loo's are…

  15. And its not just Yacht crews. Who do you think gets called if you fallin the Thames? Clue: The busiest RNLI station in the country is Tower,

    now located just below Waterloo Bridge on the old Police Pier.

    The three 'E Boat' stations, Chiswick, Tower and Gravesend are,

    however, professionally crewed (the only other one is Humber) due to

    the need to meet a 15 min response time. Crews are two professionals

    and either a third professional or a volunteer (who does two 12 hour

    shifts a month). There is always a crew on station.

    Its a strange world however, many RNLI stations have Ambulance staff

    on the crew, particularly Paramedics (who they are especially keen to

    recruit) as 'volunteers'.

  16. This kind of thing really P's me off.I am not a member of SJAB, I am ex BRCS however and so the use of the word “volunteer” as being an obscenity is a tone I am familiar with.

    I work for a private ambulance company and they regularly provide a static treatment post and a vehicle for Croydon town centre at the weekends. This is in support of the LAS and in co-operation with their staff for the most part.

    However, there have been occasions where like one, and LAS FRU Tech travelled with the crew to the recieving A&E and told the nurse, “Im with them because we didnt have a proper ambulance”

    Lets look at the US system, they have such a different range of EMS providers, from state funded and hospital services to private companies and volunteer corps. However, they all have the same level of training and are all registered by the NREMT to ensure that there is a benchmark for EMS care, no matter who provides it.

    With the NHS sure to go bust within our lifetime, it would maybe be wise for us to have a similar training, grading and certification system here in the UK, to iron out problems such as highlighted in the report, and also the issues that surround rogue elements within SJAB/BRCS and the Private Sector that pop up from time to time.

    Lets face it, Nurses in the private sector are no less nurses than those in the NHS – The NMC regulates them all!!

    Its time that we all started to work together, enough of this “old boys club” attitude re: non NHS ambulance staff.

  17. As a volunteer EMT in the US, I'm an EMT-B (trauma stabilization treatment, no drugs except oxygen, epinephrine, glucose, self-administer for nerve gas antidote, and patient assist on anything else, MAST and splinting, automated defibrillation only.) Period. I went to the same classes and took the same tests as the paid EMT-Bs (and by “same classes” I mean that there were paid EMT-Bs in the actual classroom with me.)There are volunteer EMT-B, EMT-CC, and EMT-I, all the way up to full medics, and the certification is the same across the board. When you compare the amount of time you spend in class to the amount of time you spend on call, it's hard to make the argument that you're doing anyone any favors by differentiating training. (Especially since we're undifferentiated first responders – you may get me, you may get a county employee, on the same piece of apparatus, on the same dispatch system, etc.)

    That said, there's actually a pretty limited number of cases where a medic is going to do you more good than an experienced EMT-B. I respect the hell out of our paramedics, but the ultimate point of EMS is to get you in the hands of a real doctor, after all, not to cure you and send you on your way, and there's a small percentage of calls (primarily medical, vs. trauma) where there's a difference. (Even then, the “medic stuff” probably needs to come *after* some basic EMT-B life support stuff that will take up the first 5 – 10 minutes).

    It just doesn't make good sense to send one medic, let alone 2, on the 90% of emergency calls where they're no different from an EMT. (That's by the way after subtracting the 70% of calls that did not need an ambulance anyway, and I don't even want to think about what Communications filters out before they dispatch us at all.)

  18. Large swathes of the country are dependent on volunteers in one way or another.Think of all the grandparents who look after kids so the parents can go to work.

    All the carers of disabled family members – if you care for a family member for 35 hours or more a week, you can claim a whole 55 in Carer's Allowance! That should just about cover your expenses…

    All the St Johns Ambulance, Lifeboats, Special Constables, Firefighters and so on who are volunteers.

    The veritable army of Mums and Dads who help out at schools, playgroups, youth clubs, community outreach programmes

    The National Trust, museum workers, plenty of historians, wildlife trusts, coastal cleanups…

    Day-to-day support services for living, such as hospital transport, befriending schemes, WRVS, Meals on Wheels, DIAL, Unemployed Workers Resource Centres…

    There are more… services that are either entirely free, or that only charge for expenses but are manned by volunteers, or that have a paid manager to co-ordinate it and arrange the overheads and so on but where the frontline stuff is done by unpaid volunteers.

    And then Tony Blair says he “wants an expansion of the role of charities and voluntary organisations in providing public services.” Cos they're not doing enough already, or something.

    bbc link here

  19. As a SJA member, in a rural county. i have worked with NHS Crews. Yes in medical situations they are the best to have, but sja members have backgrounds in all things, like mine is offroading, and this with a 4×4 sja ambo, has help NHS ambo, in getting pats. off to a road ambo. but for the EX paramedic, i beleived they said he was to complain about sja, the only thing i can say is stop being a copper and get your greens back on.

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