Yesterday's post and other posts in the past have had readers asking me why we tend not to 'challenge' people who we think are misusing the ambulance service. In yesterday's case it was the family who had a mildly ill child and then followed the ambulance in a people carrier.
By some stroke of luck there has recently been released the main reason why us roadcrews tend to shut up and get on with it.
Take a look at this pdf of the LAS Trust Board report from July this year. Take a look at the complaints made about behaviour starting at page 92 all the way down to page 99.
These are complaints about behaviour and attitude, not the clinical treatment given.
Some examples –
Complainant feels patient needed the attention of the A&E department was advised instead to attend the practice nurse. The complaint also states that the nurse was given a 'misleading assessment of the severity of the patients wound when she agreed to treat her.'
(Patient wants to go to hospital, we should do that rather than direct them to a more relevant care pathway').
Complainant unhappy that driver of LAS vehicle seems to be sitting in vehicle at the end of road all the time with engine running and reading newspaper. Complainant concerned that this is unnecessary pollution. (We sit on standby in a effort to reach sick people quicker – Vehicle heating/air conditioning needs the engine running).
Complainant/Patient is blind. Injured his foot so neighbour called LAS. Crew arrived and treated patient. Female crew member was concerned about his living conditions and so stayed a bit longer after treatment. Complainant feels very offended by this and says he asked her to leave repeatedly and is very angry that she refused. (Trying to make sure that someone has the support that they need?)
“Complainant unhappy with attitude of ambulance man. Was on the phone with ambulance man after ex-wife had to be taken to hospital. Complainant needed to know what was going on as his daughters were at the scene but ambulance man was very abrupt and refused to give out any information and eventually hung up on complainant. Complainant also asked for name of ambulance person which he refused to give out. Ex-wife told complainant that when in the ambulance the ambulance man told her that he would report the complainant for asking for his name.” (I'm thinking that there is a little thing called patient confidentiality, complainant is ex-husband)
“Ambulance was parked in the middle of the road, when complainant asked for them to move it because his daughter had an exam and he was taking her to school, the female member of staff said she didn't care about the exam. Complainant finds this very rude.”
(We park in the middle of the road if there is no parking elsewhere and we need to see to a sick patient – not for fun. I could have had a similar complaint myself once upon a time.).
“Linked to LAS 0300/04 and 0195/06. Complainant states that “JS and S” at (an LAS ambulance station)y have been humiliating her and her son and the local shop keepers. She also states that they have ordered goods for £500 on her account for Littlewoods catalogue.” (It should be noted that staff records reveal that no staff answering to the description
As you can see some people are quick to complain, or just don't understand the job that we do. Remember that I was complained against for saying that a patient hits like a girl after he assaulted me – and the complaint was fully investigated. I wonder if that is in a Trust report somewhere…
So for a quiet life it seems that the easiest thing to do is to relax, not stress out, and take them to the A&E department and let them sit there for 3 hours and 59 minutes*. It's not the right thing to do, but it is the thing that will mean I get to keep working.
You can find other reports here and can even attend the Trust board meetings.
Thanks to 'Wiggy' for pointing out this report.