THE CENTRAL AND WEST WALES AMBULANCE SERVICE already has one of the UK’s worst response time averages, arriving at the scene of an incident within eight minutes only 47.8% of the time. Now the Regional Director of the ambulance service has taken firm and positive steps to …… make their response times even worse.
The director, Richard Lee has instructed the dispatchers that they will not dispatch any ambulance while the crew is on their “meal break,” even if the medics want to be available. A health trust spokesman said, “Ambulance crews are entitled to an uninterrupted break during their shift in line with the UK-wide NHS terms and conditions of service for non-medical staff.”
The County Times reports from the medics interviewed:
“Can you imagine a road accident or a cardiac arrest happening in Welshpool and control having to ring a crew to attend from Llanfyllin or Newtown because the ones two minutes down the road are having lunch? It is ludicrous,” explained one crew member. “We have no idea why they have decided to enforce this ruling but one that’s for sure is we’d all rather be made available. What they are doing is putting lives at risk when at the same time we’re all volunteering to be made available during our meal breaks. People will die as a result of the absurd new rule.”
They also fear response times to life threatening calls will be further delayed despite already being the lowest in Wales. “Response times in Powys are already pretty poor as it and this will just make things worse,” added the worried crew member.
Firegeezer has been reporting occasionally from several areas around the UK where this absurd rule has been in place. Many times there have since been people who have been critically ill, sometimes dying as a nearby ambulance is off the air for the mandatory meal break. The medics and their union have been very vocal in their opposition to this nutty reasoning. Whenever one of these tragedies occur, the medics are both angry and emabarrassed about the whole thing.
See one of our previous reports on this scheme HERE,