THE PRACTICE OF PUTTING EMERGENCY CALLS ON HOLD WHILE the ambulance crews take their full allotted time for meals is still vigorously practiced in the UK. The latest chapter in this sorry saga comes to us from Portsmouth, England, via The News:
Emergency calls are being held back from ambulance crews so they can have tea breaks, The News can reveal today.
The revelations come a month after The News reported how an injured 96-year-old woman from Gosport was left shivering on the pavement for over an hour, while an ambulance crew tucked into their meal just a few hundred yards away.
The ambulance service has confirmed that its investigation found that the only crew available in the area were on a break at the time, and the crew were not alerted until their break had finished.
A paramedic, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘The control room have been told not to send people out when they are on their meal break.
‘But as soon as the break is over very, very often you get called to a job which came through to the control room earlier.
‘Over the last 10 shifts I’ve done, on nine of them as soon as the break is over, five seconds later, you are called to an incident that came in 20 or 30 minutes before.
‘If the crew is on a break, then the control room will just sit on it – this is putting lives at risk and it’s bordering on criminal.
You can read the full article in today’s edition of The News HERE.
Longtime readers of Firegeezer know that this is not the first time we’ve brought such articles to you attention. Going back over two years, we’ve been passing along horror stories such as the man who had a fatal heart attack on a London sidewalk just around the corner from an ambulance station.
This is not a creature of the medics’ union, but instead it has been promulgated by an entrenched bureaucracy that has lost sight of just what the mission of an emergency ambulance service is. The paramedics are always both embarrassed and infuriated when this happens. They are flat out against it and are constantly telling the public that they want to be dispatched to emergencies. But the pencil-pushers are insistent on keeping the crews on a full, scheduled break instead of allowing them to eat during their slack times.
Have we mentioned that the UK ambulance services are a part of their nationalized, government-run health care system?