More Moaning

Once more a shortage of ambulances makes the news…

A man stabbed outside a pub was taken to hospital in a fire engine because the area's three ambulances were busy…

…An ambulance service spokesman said: “The three vehicles on duty in the Maesteg area were already committed.

“The nearest available ambulance was at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and this was dispatched but was stood down when police responders informed control that they would convey the patient in a fire brigade vehicle

Full article here.

What strikes me as amusing is that I heard of a fire engine bringing a traffic accident in my local hospital only a few days ago – once more because of a lack of ambulances, and this is in London, not Maesteg. Once more the demand for ambulances far outstrips the actual number of ambulances we have available.

At the moment the London Ambulance Service is at 'level 3' in our 5 point scale of how busy we are. So, despite not having the money for it (thanks to the government taking a large chunk of our budget away from us to pay another hospital trusts bills), we are having to pay people for overtime in order to keep the service running to the standard that the government and the public expect.

It's long been known that the ambulance service runs on it's overtime, and our ORCON times have been dropping through the floor because until now we haven't had the funds to pay for overtime (due to the aforementioned government taking money away from us). Now it is reaching a crisis it seems that we have found the money for overtime somewhere – I suspect by 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.

It's a simple formula, 'Too many calls (often for rubbish) + not enough ambulances + high expectations from the public of the service we provide + demoralised staff = long waiting times for ambulances, delays getting to genuine life-threatening calls and an unhappy public/government'.

Large swathes of the population expect an ambulance for every cough, cold and sniffle – the government is unwilling to pay for this expectation and so the ambulance service gets squeezed from both sides.

In April we tell the government if we have made our targets. I hope that we don't make them this year. If we make the targets after the government has cut our budget, then what incentive do they have for giving us our pre-cut budget back?

If we make our targets, then we will have made a rod for our own backs.

For those that don't read the comments Pandop mentioned a column showing this problem from the other side of the fence. Thanks Pandop.

UPDATE: Edited to correct my mistake – we are actually at level 3, not level 4 as originally written.

15 thoughts on “More Moaning”

  1. We have to spend the remainder of this year's budget on a half baked plan just to spend it, only to have to totally redo it next year. No we cannot carry the budget over and do a brilliant job later this year, no we *have* to spend it, and we'll lose it if we don't spend it!Usually bl**dy NHS, buy the cheapest, do a cr*p job, then wonder why the maintenace is 10x the original bill for doing the job right in the first damn place.

  2. I posted a comment but it ran away so I'll try again.As far back as 1974 I can remember that no one dared save any money because , if they did, they would be rewarded by having their budget reduced by that amount of money in the next financial year.

    Similarly, achieve a target and surprise, surprise , next year's will be mor difficult.

    It's time to sort out the time wasters, get rid of the government and support our NHS and nurture her back to her former glory.

    Heard on the radio this am that there's going to be a new law against harrassing the emergecny services. All well and good , but how will that be policed?

    There are newly qualified nurses and physios without jobs, not because they are not needed,but because there is no money, no money , no money, that echoing mantra.

    I wonder where said hospital trust is? Or more than one?

  3. I read in the paper last wee that someone fell ill on the 108 bus in Greenwich and the bus driver gave up waiting for the ambulance and drove the patient to the QE in Woolwich on the bus.I lived in Derry in Norn Iron and there was always a shortage of ambulances. One day someone was knifed down the town and the PSNI had to bring him to the hospital in the back of one of their armoured landrovers as the nearest available ambulance was in Enniskillen! Just a pity that they had to avoid the locals lobbing bricks and bottles at them while they were trying to perfom CPR on the guy.

    Though there was always an ambulance available to bring in the regulars. You know you've worked somewhere too long when you know their name, address, complaint and hospital number!

  4. Tom does the LAS have a no-send policy? I read on this and other blogs of people calling ambulances for the biggest load of old bollocks going. Is there some sort of system for telling them where to stick it?

  5. Done that… on an ambo. Flagged down to a fire outside a shop (OK, it was a small fire, but it was enough to have cracked the plate glass window) in the early hours of a Sunday morning.Managed to put it out (deployed two vehicle fire extinguishers, much to the disgust of my supervisor when I reported the need for replacements, and one service-issue boot in the extinguishing thereof) before the squirters arrived (“,).

    Did I get a mention on the BBC News website? Did I heckaslike…

    Mind you, I've still got the melted bit on my left boot as a trophy…

  6. We used to, but there has been a change of computer system and I believe that we no longer do 'no send'.I may be mistaken on this though.

  7. *Cough* Ditto with a small fire 200yards from the local fire station. We called them and they were taking their time (it was 3am after all, so the poor dears had to get dressed), so we attacked it with our vehicle extinguisher.Again, our heroic actions were un-noticed by the media.

  8. So you must live on half a loaf of bread. If you do then they take away 10%. If you still live on this reduced loaf, next year they take away another 10%.Meanwhile each year the management get a steak 10% bigger than last year.Scrimp pennies waste thousands of pounds.That's the joy of being management.

  9. not sure if you guys have a similar system, we deploy and then get stood down once calls go “green” and they look at whether an ECP can deal, its not perfect but it is working a little in weeding out a few calls that don't require a front line response

  10. The trust I work for has newly qualified nurses sitting waiting for jobs they were garaunteed when they started their training (on sponsorship scheme), and still having to be paid. They currently have a nurse working an admin post because so many nursing posts have been cut.

  11. In my service 2 people on seperate incidents died while with the rv driver because there wasnt an ambulance to send. I am on my tech course at the min and they have even said to half the course that have done there driving first may get called out of training school to respond with a qualified member of staff. It is an absolute joke at the moment and out managment dont seem to be doing lRegard manchest legend

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