Some quick comments to two pieces of ambulance news.
A chief constable has said he fears an injured person will die in the back of a police car heading for hospital due to poor ambulance response times.
Mick Giannasi of Gwent Police, was commenting after it emerged 92 people had to be taken to hospital by his officers over six months.
In December 2008 alone, police cars were used as a last resort 41 times because ambulances were not available.
I'd like to see the LAS figures on the number of calls that come to us from the police, normally assaults, that have 'no units to send'. The police are just as busy and stretched as us, and often our jobs overlap – it's just a matter of numbers that we sometimes end up doing each other's work. To be honest, given the exceedingly minor injuries that a lot of 'assaults' cause, it would seem a waste to have an ambulance pick up someone with a few scratches, of course using a police car in such a case, while quicker, is still not an ideal use of resources.
But picture the uproar from the headline 'Assault victim told to make own way to hospital'. Even if such an assault is a scratch the bad PR isn't worth it – which is one reason why we take everyone to hospital.
A Derbyshire man is angry his 98-year-old mother had to wait several hours for an ambulance, on two occasions, after injuring herself in falls.
Brian Beardsley said his mother Agnes had lengthy waits for an ambulance called by a doctor at her Ilkeston care home on 4 March and 27 April.
Mr Beardsley says the waits were not acceptable for a 98-year-old.
East Midlands Ambulance Service officials apologised for the delay but said they had to prioritise 999 calls.
Mrs Beardsley, who has a history of falling, suffered head injuries during three falls in one day at the Victoria Care Home on 27 April.
Paramedics were on hand in minutes for two but for the third she had a lengthy wait.
Sadly the number of ambulances available are not infinite, and so all calls have to be prioritised – in this case the patient had been seen by a doctor who said that a four hour wait was acceptable, and she had to wait twenty minutes longer than that. I'm trying my hardest to see how this is 'news'. Note that when a doctor hadn't been out to see her first that 'Paramedics were on hand in minutes'. The flip side of the story is of course 'My husband died of a heart attack while ambulance crews dealt with a minor injury already seen by a doctor'.
It's lovely to be hated so much.