Once more a man who sits in an office, surrounded by others who sit in an office and is supported by newspaper writers who also sit in offices says that emergency services should put themselves at risk.
And the ambulance and police staff who do this are having their pay frozen and their pensions changed.
I suppose that this means that there is one new way of saving money – we can stop paying for all those ‘Please do not assault our staff’ posters – after all, if ambulance crews and the police are to go into areas where an indiscriminate killer is roaming without armament with which to defend themselves, then all NHS workers can put up with a bit of a beating if it’s for an ’emergency’.
It’s not about the pay, it’s about the job role. When I was in the ambulance service I was there to help people by providing medical support – not to get killed in the line of duty. Ambulance personnel are not soldiers, they are not police. I wasn’t there to break up pub fights, disarm knife-wielding maniacs or find myself under fire.
Ambulance crews should not be sent into uncontrolled scenes where they, and the people they are looking to help, become a big target with blue flashing lights for someone with a grudge.
Ambulance crews do not have the kit, or the training, to deal with a violent aggressor (apart from ‘run away’, something only slightly more helpful than ‘stand your ground’ when up against an armed assailant). A shot or injured ambulance crew would just become additional victims which would place even more stress on an already overburdened system.
(Of course, then a coroner might suggest that injured ambulance crews go to the back of the line for medical treatment so that ‘the public’ are fully protected, neglecting that ambulance workers are ‘the public’ as well). It bears mentioning that the first rule of major incident planning is to prevent any increase in the number of people that you need to treat.
I think that should a similar event happen again we should get the nearest coroner and get them to wander around the scene where a gunman is roaming and see how they like it. Give them a box of bandages so that they can feel useful while doing their tour. Same for the journalists, they can go hunting for the suspect armed with nothing more than a cheap digital camera. After all, is it not the duty of journalists to get the ‘real story’, and for coroners to see out ‘all the information’?