Thank You Tax-Payers

This blogpost is a little later than planned for reasons which are about to become apparent.

If you pay UK taxes, I’d like to take a moment to thank you.  You have helped me out quite a bit.


We got a call as “Two people in collapsed state”, so we rattled around to the house only to find the two ‘patients’ having a nice (for them) drug trip.  They were boyfriend and girlfriend and the ambulance had been called by the boy’s mother.  She told me how they were both known to use drugs, and that her son had spent some time in a rehab unit trying to kick his drug and alcohol addiction.

We called for another ambulance as they were so far into their drugged state they were in a real danger of blocking their own airway and choking to death.  There was no way we could transport both patients.

So I stayed downstairs with a male 6’2”, built like a brick outhouse apparent weightlifter while my crewmate looked after his girlfriend in the bedroom.  Sometimes I draw the short straw…

Eventually another ambulance turned up (we were having a very busy night), and we started to move the patients into the ambulances.

Unfortunately for me, the male patient became just a bit agitated and started waving his arms about.  He managed to string together a couple of naughty swear words just for my ears.  As we got him into the ambulance he managed to punch my crewmate and kick the FRU driver who had arrived to help us out.

As I was trying to strap him down onto the bed he swung an arm at me and caught me in the face.

My glasses went flying off my head, bounced around the back of the ambulance and landed in pieces at my feet.

I’d just like to state that without my glasses I score a 9/10 on the Magoo Scale.  This is about the level where you would pick up a skunk thinking that it was a pet cat.

We took both patients into the local hospital, where the young man decided to ‘kick off’ again.  He tried biting a couple of us until the docs could dose him up with Haldol which *ahem* ‘calmed him down.

I then called Control on our radio and let them know that I was no longer able to work – I don’t have a spare pair of glasses, so there was no way I could continue.

Control sent one of our new Duty Station Officers (DSO’s) over for a chat – I’ve got to say I’m pretty impressed with him, he seems to have a pretty good idea of whats going on, and he talks a lot of sense.  He also told me that each night around 10 ambulance crews are assaulted, which is a surprisingly huge number given the shortage of ambulances on the road each night.

He also told me that when I got new glasses I should give the receipt to him so that he can do battle with the finances department and then I can claim the money back.  Asking him if the patient would be made to pay by the LAS, I was told that this wouldn’t be the case, and that the money would come out of our normal funding. 

I was told not to buy any solid gold glasses.

I find this a bit ridiculous – here is a patient who has indulged in something illegal – he has assaulted a number of ambulance and hospital staff (thankfully no-one was seriously injured), he has wasted all our time and broken and essential bit of kit for the running of an ambulance.  Because of him there was one less ambulance covering our area that night.

And he’s going to get away without losing a penny.

I can see why we don’t bother pressing criminal charges against him (I read enough police and magistrate blogs to understand a little something about the CPS), but you’d think that we could win some small civil action against him.

So – as it is, my new glasses are being provided by the tax payer.


I promise – no solid gold glasses.


I now have two pairs of glasses on order (a 2 for 1 special on frames for all you fans of reasonable NHS budgets), I also have some ultra stylish ones that cost me £9 plus lenses.  Well…I think that they are stylish, and they were made in one hour, which is nice when you are otherwise as blind as a bat.

35 thoughts on “Thank You Tax-Payers”

  1. Pah, probably a sweeping generalisation but my cynical by default mind tells me that his habit may not be compatible with making regular earnings from a job so the chances are if you'd managed to claim the money from him the funds would have come out of the taxpayer's pocket anyway – different budget same source; either that or from whatever not so above board activity funds his habit.

  2. this is poopy. How can your employers not prosecute? What would be the chances if you tried to prosecute privately? What did his precious mummy think of him whacking the NHS staff?At the very least, refuse this twat pain relief.

    Hope your new diamond-encrusted glasses look lovely.

  3. With you on the whole blindness thing! Had my check up the other day, only to discover I'm officially blinder than my father. Wouldn't be so bad if the significant other hadn't been told he doesn't need glasses for another 15 years.Git.

    Oh, and, I'm a taxpayer, and you're welcome 🙂

  4. Tom,To be honest, I think you deserve solid gold glasses for

    1) the work you do

    2) your extraordinary patience and professionalism

    But the scrote needs a — well he needs something horrid.

    This illustrates a little rant of mine from yesterday, so have shamelessly purloined some money quotes.

    Toodle Pip!


  5. Did you call your friendly local PC? He is probably well known to us!If I got a call like that I personally would've nicked matey boy for assault on all of you, criminal damage to your glasses and pushed for a charge on everything, but i'm an evil copper like that!

    In relation to your point on civil action, you could take out a private prosecution, but it'll probably cost you more in the long run and matey boy probably wouldn't attend court any way.

  6. Solid gold glasses would be hard to see through. Glad to hear you were sensible.Seriously though, for my money, you can have all the gold glasses you want. I don't know how you manage to keep helping the useless, but good on you for doing it. The only problem with the healing professions is that they involve sick people. (So I went into teaching, where the only problem is that you have to deal with students.)

  7. How come ambulances can charge for attending road accidents but not for having to attend this kind of thing? It seems a little (well a lot actually) illogical to me. Am I being over simplistic? Civil procedures to cover the costs, or at least some of them, of this kind of unnecessary call out. The crew could decide on completion of a job if it warranted charging or not….

  8. you're welcome.I am in the process of getting some sport glasses knocked up for my work, as I too am as blind as a bat without them.

    Maybe it's time to stop putting scum bags human rights first and treating them as the (insert word of choice here) they are.

    Take care.

  9. You know where the “patient” lives, don't you?Go round and take it out of his nose. I'm damn sure I would.

  10. You, personally, could make a complaint of assault and criminal damage. Yes, the police are busy, but it is exactly the type of thing that we're (says me, speaking the entire service I'm sure) here for.As a patrol officer in a largish southern English town over the last couple of years I've personally dealt with three physical assaults on ambulance crew, and a verbal assault (drunkard climbed into back of an ambulance insulting crew as they treated a patient, and refused to leave when asked nicely several times). None of the assaults had resulted in any injury beyond a bruise – yet positive action was taken and arrests made. The CPS were very supportive – explicitly stating the ambulance crews are public servants placing themselves in danger and particularly deserving of protection.

    The law of assault and criminal damage is the same all over the country, and the National Crime Recording Standards mean that there is a duty on the police to at least record stuff like this so that we have a true idea of what is happening so that our leaders can (theoretically) take account of it when deciding future resourcing.

    I know it might be a pain in the backside – but make a crime report to the Met. Let me know if you need further details on how to do this.

  11. I agree with everyone here, it's an outrage that the patient doesn't pay for the damage he caused. However, I must ask a question: why not just wear contact lenses instead?Surely in this (potentially risky/violent) line of work it would make more sense to remove fragile objects (eg. glasses) that a violent/abusive patient could damage and replace them with something they couldn't grab hold of or break (eg. contacts)?

    Admittedly I have 20:20 vision so I'm in no position to judge why one would choose glasses as opposed to contacts, but in this case it is a fair question, no?

  12. How stylish can they be for only 9 BSP (I don't have the little “L” sign on my computer..US) ? Also, with NHS aren't they always paid for by the taxpayer? I'm a US dispatcher so dismally informed about NHS.

  13. Hope this info answers your question:People only qualify for an NHS voucher for optical care if they fit one of the following criteria:

    Under 16s.

    Under 19s in full-time education.

    People (or partners of people) on Income Support, Disabled Person's Tax Credit, income-based Job-Seeker's Allowance, or Working Families' Tax Credit.

    Holders of an exemption certificate (HC2).

    People who need certain complex lenses.

    Tom wouldn't fit any of these categories (his LAS wages would mean he wouldn't get any of the benefits listed and the prescription has to be seriously complex to qualify for the last one). To get an HC2 you need to be pregnant or have given birth in the previous year or have a medical condition which means you'd need continuous medical care (diabetes for example).

  14. Tut-tut on you, so-called Reynolds! You know the dress code states perfectly clearly that you must keep a spare pair of specs at work in case of loss or breakage. If you're allowed to get away with this blatant breach of the rules, why, we'll have every four-eyed speccy geek in the service going off the road with busted bins! Discipline him, I say! Discipline him!

  15. stroppycow has given the best answer possible for NHS optical care… as for 9 glasses, that's probably some sort of super-cheap special offer. Usually the basic rate simple glasses are about 40 (If I recall correcty… *clutches HC2 certificate*)

  16. The vouchers for complex lenses is also only a small contribution towards the cost too – about 12 UKP per lens. While the NHS does cover most medical treatments, some of the 'non-essentials' (like being able to see beyond the end of your nose) mostly has to come out of our own pockets.

  17. I _think_ it's because RTA's are covered by car insurance – and are therefore easier to gather money from.

  18. Merys hits it exactly on the head – I'd rather have broken galsses than bloody fluids in my eyes.Yes we have plastic googles, but they are a pain to wear, they obscure your vision and are generally hard to come by.

  19. Yep – of course I have to pay full price for the lenses, and the frames themselves are more NHS 'style'. Which considering there was a near identical pair for over 120 the next rack over – are good enough for me at the moment.

  20. Yes, yes…I'm thinking of running a competition to see who can get a photo of my new glasses up here first.

    Or I just may post a picture when I have all three of them…

  21. Then you get sent home.I'd like to tell you that the DSO scowled at me – but I couldn't see him…

    But Alison is correct – the dress code says that we should always carry some spares. So I could indeed get disciplined for not having a spare pair – luckily for me our management isn't that spiteful.

    Besides – I'll have a spare pair soon.

  22. I cannot tell you the joy that coursed through my under-16 heart that day I found that NHS spectacle frames for kids no longer had to be those thick plastic brown ones that my mum wore.On her, they made her look like, well, a mum. On me… I really need wire frames.

  23. good to see you got a spare pair. the way to get out of the second pair is to say at the start that you dont have a spare pair as they were the one that got broken, and the replacement spare is on order. my mate did that and got away with it, did a 2 for 1 and got his spare pair for thing i would say, keep the one hour ones for out of work wear. and do they make rubber ones, could be useful in your line of work

  24. Sorry to hear about your specs.Glad to know you are ok! As a tax payer I'm happy to replace your specs esp. if they are sexy ones 🙂 but I would like to know that the numbnut that caused the pain was in someway slapped for his stupidity!

    Stay away from gold ones as golds v.heavy and will make you nose hurt : )

  25. Good Grief! What a mess NHS is. Thank goodness I'm in the USA where everything is just overinflated in price, but you can get what you want, provided you have about $500 for glasses. Personally, Reynolds, I'd go for the macaroni frames…very stylish and edible.

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