Car Wash

For the first time today, the people of East London have decided that they don't need an ambulance, so I can quickly write an entry while supping a cup of tea.
I turned up to work today, only to find a poster in our station telling us that if we manage to reach 90% of priority calls within 8 minutes, then two Team leaders will come and wash the cars of those on duty on that day.

This leads to two questions – first, just how desperate are management to get our response rates up, and secondly, shouldn't Team Leaders have better things to do with their time than washing our cars?

Although I do admire their attempt to 'think outside the box'

The eight minute respone time is the main gauge of our success dictated to us via the government, this is called the ORCON time. As far as anyone knows, the eight minutes has no obvious basis in clinical practice – the best guess anyone can come up with is that the government considered it a good time because that is how long they have to vote when the Division Bell rings.

At the moment the complex is reaching around 68% of all these calls within 8 minutes – the only problem is that it is supposed to be 75%. This is considered Not Good, and so there is a rush to try and get that percentage up. As part of that plan we have these incentives, and a number of Rapid Response Cars have been funded across the area. The RRU's are supposed to get to a job in under 8 minutes – then if the patient is seriously ill provide immediate treatment, if the patient isn't ill, then there is little for the RRU to do.

If we get 75% or more, then we get more funding, if we get less… Well we get less funding.

Today I can tell you that the ORCON percentage is probably below the required 75%, because throughout the day our Dispatchers have been putting out general broadcasts for ambulances – so there have been more jobs than there are free ambulances.

This is the problem – we, as ambulance crews, don't hang about and dawdle to our emergency calls, we genuinely try to get to these calls as quickly as possible. But given traffic conditions, the size of our area, the actual lack of ambulances (and the staff to crew them), there is little we can do to improve the times.

I mean, if we drove any faster, we'd probably have half the fleet off the road being repaired after crashing into other road users.

11 thoughts on “Car Wash”

  1. And then of course the management would start a “must get to 75% of calls without crashing into other vehicles or maiming pedestrians” target.And if you reached that, then management would rub your feet, serve you coffee and go home and service your partner in case you were too tired.

    I miss my blog. I have all this sarcastic pent up rage an nowhere to let it out.

  2. That about sums up the crazy way this world works… manage to meet the targets no problem = more cash. Struggle to do it with the mis-managed resources you have = budget cuts.Gotta love that logic!

  3. if “we get 75% or more, then we get more funding” if ye fail then ? It don't play[or meet the smell test] take away another ambulance,and give to Westminister., I ….Oh! I see, less ambulances on the road , less crowding in the high street. so the question be, how much blood be lost when ye have a bleeeder, in 8 mins it takes to respond. The response time plus time to phone and time to realize that there be a bloody bleeder , or one that one is not pumping same through the lungs. Takes how long in reality ? I think ye will have to put cow catchers on the front to remove all obstacles that be frozen by those blinking lights and enchanting music ye play, here in never/never land they post ambulances around the hot spots to reduce response time. dungbeetle

  4. yep, I have some sarcastic pent up rage about this subject, and a few other things – but it wouldn't be wise to blog about it as I'd probably end up losing my job…And I miss your blog as well…

  5. Sorry to be pedantic but who will be doing the team leaders jobs when they are busy washing all your cars? Are they mad? Sounds like a joke out of Hill St Blues but scarily management were obviously serious enough that day to pass a motion to spend money printing posters to advertise the idea. As Ian Dury so concisely put it: 'What a waste'!

  6. Wouldnt it be more cost effective, to get those 2 Team leaders out in an ambulance, and helping you lot do your job!? Seems like a waste of money. I knwo i wouldnt trust my old team leader to wash my car, and im pretty confident that i keep it clean enough not to require washing by someone else.Also if they did wash my car and it wasnt to my standard i would have to make them do it again. I'm very particular about not using wash n wax on my windscreen, as it goes streaky!!!

  7. Well……that's a rant for another day, which will include a rant on why 'more cars does not equal faster times'.

    The joke is that they will wash your car…with nice new clean brillo pads.

  8. Sounds like typical neo-con logic. Private enterprise is more efficient than the public service, by definition. And private enterprise works by competition. So therefore to make the public service more efficient introduce competition.Of course, private enterprise also works by ignoring unprofitable tasks, while the public service exists to serve everyone.

  9. “If we get 75% or more, then we get more funding, if we get less… Well we get less funding.”What Einstein came up with THAT logic? I bet it was some assclown here in the states. For years, they have been giving out standardised tests to kiddies in school. Schools with higher tests scores get more money and schools with lower scores get-you guessed it-cuts in funding. And it's not the schools who suffer, or as in your case, the ambulance services-it's the people dependent upon education and emergency medical transport who suffer, and in the end it is all of us.

  10. I love government logic. Failing targets? They put a squeeze on the finanaces, just when you might be needed a little extra. I admire your work and blog immensely

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