Thursday, 17 January 2013

Elementary, Dear Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe


I may be late to the party but I felt it was time to come out of hiding to have a good old fashioned rant!

So, Richard Madeley of Richard and Judy fame managed to get the backs up of every single ambulance worker in the country with his badly written, badly researched tripe of an editorial about a crew who finished their break before going to the aid of a critically ill child. For those not aware the original story can still be found here. It should have come as no surprise when the article vanished, but it didn't take long for more of the gutter press to spread lies and mis-information and make slanderous, biased attacks on ambulance services and their staff. Why let the truth get in the way of a perfectly good story eh?! It seems to serve no other purpose other than to blacken our name and tarnish the public perception of the NHS as a whole and only goes to make a hard and volatile job just that little bit harder. This time we have The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe to thank for providing us with one of the worst examples of 'journalism' I have ever seen.

"A BABY of eight weeks is facing possible disability for life as a result of an ambulance crew finishing its break before going on a 999 call."
Belittling the work of the ambulance, police and fire is a right giggle.....

I agree with what she starts with, 'I can think of few more genuine emergencies than a baby having a 'heart attack'. Neither can I. Unfortunately the cardiac arrest the poor child suffered is not the same as a heart attack; never has been, never will be, but that really is beside the point. The child was critically ill and should have had an ambulance quicker than 41 minutes. Why though was West Midlands Ambulance service solely reliant on a crew who was on a rest break? Obviously Mrs Widdecombe couldn't possibly blame the Tory cuts, must tow the party line after all (even when you've retired from office). We can't for a minute blame the lack of funding, not enough staff, not enough ambulances and too many calls for the delay can we?! Oh no... blame the greedy paramedics stuffing their faces ignoring cries for help from a dying baby.

She goes onto draw parallels between staff having the right to a rest break with babies having the right to live. In all seriousness, what does she expect?! Is this the Conservative ideal?! Ambulance crews working 12 hour shifts without the possibility of a break? What happens when we have finished our shift? Does she expect us to answer calls then too? What about before? Do we sign on when we wake up in the morning and offer to answer calls in our own cars? I'm sure she was never advised to starve herself for 12 hours at a time whilst on Celebrity Fit Club....

One of my favourite parts of the article was when she led with 'Members of that crew had better pray that if they ever need to call out the emergency services they don’t find themselves in a clash with a copper’s cuppa or a fire fighter’s elevenses.' It would have only taken asking one member of an ambulance crew to find out how rest breaks work. We have no idea what jobs are going on around us. We are dispatched by a computer (that computer's sole purpose is to assist us meet the government targets), and on the rare occasion we get a break at all, that computer makes us unavailable for that period and we cannot be sent a call. Does she really think that a crew would knowingly sit down and eat in the knowledge that a baby was in cardiac arrest around the corner? I think its disgusting to level such an unfounded accusation at a crew. As for interrupting elevenses, we all know that Trumpton are always at rest!!

As if that wasn't enough she went on.......

"It is bad enough when public servants worry more about their own safety than that of the public and refuse to enter 2ft of water or to hop on a bicycle without a helmet but when it comes to putting sandwiches before a dying baby and then defending such action as reasonable, Britain has sunk to a new depth."

Look at them all! Scum! Every single one of them in it for themselves....
I don't remember 'can expect to take regular abuse and beatings' as part of the job description of Paramedic, maybe I missed it. I was probably too busy stuffing my face while watching this model citizen use her public standing to earn a few extra quid prancing around on Strictly Come Dancing. Silly me! For the record Ann, yes, we do worry about our safety but that doesn't stop us doing our job. We just wear stab vests so it hurts less. I was recently at an award ceremony for my service where staff were given the Chief Ambulance Officers Commendation for bravery. There was a crew who were beaten with a fence post and still went on to treat their attacker despite numerous broken bones. A crew who continued to do CPR whilst being repeatedly stung by wasps. A crew who disarmed a man with a gun. A policeman who sat next to a burning motorbike to protect the man lying in the road. Crews who day in day out put their lives on the line and for what? For the appreciation of our wonderful politicians?! If Britain has sunk to a new depth it's because of people like you. People so deluded and out of touch, that they label the little people their servants. Ms Widdecombe is not alone. Only today Tory MP Christopher Chope refer to the House of Commons catering staff as his servants. It's YOU who is out of touch, YOU who should be defending actions and YOU who should be answering accusations of sinking Britain to new depths.

I don't recall her or any Tory writing an article about the members of the emergency services who have sustained serious, life changing injuries in the course of duty as one of their 'servants'. Then again when she has the opinion that 'the service exists for the benefit of those who staff it rather than those who need it' it's of no surprise that these articles are not forthcoming.

'The purpose of education is teaching the young, not keeping bad teachers in their jobs, the purpose of the National Health Service is to make people well, not to give doctors evenings and weekends off and the purpose of the emergency services is to protect the public, not the staff’s nosh. Elementary, Dear West Midlands Ambulance Service.'

The purpose of education is teaching the young, so stop moving the goalposts and start supporting your teachers. The purpose of the National Health Service is to make people well, so stop privatising it, cutting funds, cutting staff to line your pockets. The purpose of the emergency services is to protect the public, so stop trying to turn the public against us, stop cutting ambulance funding, stop cutting police numbers, stop reducing wages, stop taking away our pensions, stop expecting us to work for 12 hours with no breaks and stop lying. Elementary, Dear Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe.

Oh and just for the record, you of all people should know that we the ambulance services are NOT emergency services. We are essential services. School girl error there! And I thought you were an educated woman, how on earth did you land the role of questionmaster in Cleverdicks?! They certainly didn't teach you the art of investigative journalism in your time at Birmingham University or Oxford! (See what I did there? Researched! You should try it some time.) You simply cannot put an article making sweeping statements into such a public forum, full of conjecture based on inaccurate information. It is nothing short of negligent, especially from someone with your social standing.

Like Ann, I also rage against the society we have become and when I heard about Thomas Passant it was indeed upsetting and heart wrenching. As a parent I know only too well what I would be feeling in that situation but putting food before the life of a child is not what we have become, not what we have ever been nor will ever be. We will always, always always try everything in our power to help anyone who needs it whether or not we have eaten, whether or not we have had a break, whether or not we have been at work for 14 hours already and whether or not we may get hurt along the way. We certainly don't work 80 hour weeks, 12 hour shifts, long nights, take abuse, receive violence and take repeated public attacks from washed out politicians for the money! £10.12 an hour is only tolerated because it's a job we love. If I wanted money and an easy life I'd work in McDonalds or go into politics. I reckon I'd be rather good at fiddling expenses and reality TV! Maybe that's what I'll do!

Perhaps Ann Widdecombe would like to come for a 12 hour night shift on a Friday (Or Richard Madeley). Would she be happy to face her adoring public in their time of need? Would she like to explain the real cause of the delays? Would she be happy to interrupt her rest break for a 43 year old male bleeding from the wrists, holding a knife and threatening to stab the first person through the door? Come on Ann! It'll be fun! I'll bring the nosh! Or maybe you'd like to find somewhere safe and warm, paid for by your servants, and write about it instead.

'Nero fiddling while Rome burned is the image which comes to mind.' Indeed.

89 comments:

  1. Well said, keep up the good work.

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  2. How Bloody dare she! So Angry can't form sentences. Glad you can write so eloquently in the face of such nonsense.

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    1. I had steam coming out of my ears for many an hour!

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  3. I work for the trust concerned and I like many of my fellow colleagues are absolutely appalled by this article and the responses of Richard Madeley and Ann Widdecombe. The chief executive of the trust has contacted both Richard and Ann and asked them to call him so that they can arrange a meeting to discuss this particular case. As yet neither of them has had the courtesy to reply. Need I say any more.

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    1. Apparently Richard is doing an article on saturday to right his wrongs!

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  4. Once a politician always a politician. Why let the truth get in the way of a good story, eh Ms Widdecombe? Pi$$ poor journalism and sordid sensationalism from someone who knows nothing about the subject whatsoever.

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  5. Intelligently described. Those of us who know the reality of Ambulance life take the knocks along the way but I am becoming increasingly worried for the wellbeing of our colleagues. It is a unique occupation with incredible highs and lows. To function in the current climate with this ill informed nonsense as the perpetual soundtrack is very damaging. The truth is many personnel are suffering severe short term mental stress and long term who knows what the cost will be?

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    1. They don't care. I know what your saying, this constant barrage of media hatred will only cause permanent damage!

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  6. I hope that one day that daft old bat (and pricky Ricky too) one day do requires the services of the Ambulance service. I also hope that the crew that are sent to them have had a really difficult shift and are so knackered that they make incorrect decisions or make mistakes that will put their health at serious risk.


    Actually it's not what I want but it seems to be what is the preffered route. I have seen my paramedic father come in first thing in the morning having been out all night saving lives. He was shattered but pushed himself to the limit to save someone in their hour of need,

    Our "essential" service is not composed of robots. The NHS is staffed by human beings. They get tired, they require breaks. It's pretty simple really. Would the story have been any different if all available crews were attending other calls? Would the complaint be that other staff dared take time off? Probably. It sure have hell wouldn't have been about the lack of crews, the lack of funding or any of the real issues facing the Ambulances services and NHS in this country.

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    1. I don't know what they expect! I really don't!

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  7. I work for an ambulance service in the UK and it would be interesting to see why there was no 999 ambulance cover for that particular time of day. I dare say it was because all the other ambulances in the area were dealing with non-emergencies! Sore toe.. cut finger.. coughing but has seen doctor and the "medicine he gave isn't working yet.." - er, you got it 3 hours ago! I need a lift to the maternity unit because I "think" the baby is coming (it isn't, you'll know when it is)Richard and vourite is the "I'll get seen quicker if I travel by ambulance to the A&E". No you won't. You'll join the queue with the rest of them! I may even give a little nod to the nurse to make you wait for the maximum amount of time! So, not only do Richard and Anne need educating on the meal break situation it is definitely needed for the public to be educated over the proper use of the 999 ambulance service. If that fails may I suggest a robust fail-safe system to deny time wasters and those not in a genuine emergency?

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  8. Texting is so much harder than typing!
    That should read:

    I work for an ambulance service in the UK and it would be interesting to see why there was no 999 ambulance cover for that particular time of day. I dare say it was because all the other ambulances in the area were dealing with non-emergencies! Sore toe.. cut finger.. coughing but has seen doctor and the "medicine he gave isn't working yet.." - er, you got it 3 hours ago! I need a lift to the maternity unit because I "think" the baby is coming (it isn't, you'll know when it is). My favourite is the, "I'll get seen quicker if I travel by ambulance to the A&E". No you won't. You'll join the queue with the rest of them! I may even give a little nod to the nurse to make you wait for the maximum amount of time! So, not only do Richard and Anne need educating on the meal break situation it is definitely needed for the public to be educated over the proper use of the 999 ambulance service. If that fails may I suggest a robust fail-safe system to deny time wasters and those not in a genuine emergency?

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    1. Haha! Phones have their flaws! I got the gist!

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  9. I forwarded this blog (I hope you dont mind) to David Cameron's office, still waiting for a reply.

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    1. I'd love a reply!! Doubt it will come lol!

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  10. Thanks Ella for this blog post. I work on the station in question and know the paras involved. Both of them are gutted by the ill-informed rubbish being spouted by Richard Madeley and others. They are aware of the support they have and know that they acted correctly and there is absolutely no justification for the accusations made by those who have no idea. Despite this they are both very upset and it will take time for them to get over this.
    I'd like to say, 'lets hope neither Richard M or Anne W need an ambulance anytime soon' but even if that did happen I've no doubt we would all act in a professional way and do our best for them, as with all our patients. This is despite us only doing it for the money of course!!

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    1. Please pass on my regards. It must be horrible :( They have the support of every crew ive spoken to in the big smoke!!

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  11. The old battle-axe came to see us one christmas Day in Ambulance Control when she was a local MP, (in Maidstone) told us what sterling work we were doing.. Amazing how your points of view change when there's an oppotunity to jump on a band wagon, and to get noticed..

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    1. I wouldn't give her even a look! Typical politician! Nice as pie to your face and then the knife hits you in the back!

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  12. Well written, well researched and spot on!! Your blog of course, not the outrageous articles by either her or Richard Madeley! They should try a week on the job, not a day, and see how their opinion changes?

    But what hope is there when the Health Secretary refers to "Ambulance Drivers" answering 999 calls when speaking on national television!

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    1. Me too, I was yelling at the TV! In fact I felt so strongly I have written to the Health Secretary to point it out!

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    2. Excellent! Lets see if you get a reply!

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    3. Well I received a reply, not from the man himself of course, from some secretary. This is what he had to say:

      "Thank you for your correspondence of 21 January to Jeremy Hunt about his recent comments on making the NHS paperless. I have been asked to reply.

      I am very sorry to read that you found the Secretary of State's use of the title 'ambulance drivers' offensive and should like to assure you that ministers fully recognise the skills and competencies required by all healthcare staff, including paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

      As you are aware, the Secretary of State was referring to the need for the NHS to embrace the technology revolution. His plans will allow patients to see records online and enable sharing of patient records across health and social care.

      The Secretary of State recognises that the ambulance services provide an invaluable service to the NHS, in what is often a challenging work environment.

      I hope this reply is helpful."

      Well to be frank, no, it wasn't helpful!! No acknowledgement that what he said was wrong, no apology for it, in fact they seem surprised I found it offensive. I may write back and ask him to give me an example of a UK ambulance trust that employs ambulance drivers?

      As for this brave new world of sharing information between health and social care, I'd love to know how they are going to square that with data protection? At the moment they can't even share electronic info with other NHS organisations. It causes us issues daily, I work in social care and deal with two different NHS organisations, their systems can't talk to each other, let alone to us! If I want some info they have to write it down and I have to drive over and get it, or they have to deliver, I then have to spend time putting it back into electronic format, cos I have nothing better to do!! But thats a while other discussion!!

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  13. Oh Ella! When I saw this story I thought of you straight away! I was so frustrated with the reporting. I hope she reads it! Liz x

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  14. The article was disgusting, I 100% agree. On behalf of our profession though I think we need to be careful moaning about 12 hour shifts and how long they are. Ambulance bosses would change them to 8 hours in a shot.....
    Anyway, to all my colleagues, keep up the good work, I think the majority of the public respect our hard work, even if MP's dont!!!

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    1. Personally, I hate them! Id much rather 10 hour shifts. If they continue to refuse to give us breaks (ive had 1 break in 12 months) 12 hour shifts cannot be sustained. 40+ people a month leaving the service says it all!

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    2. Unlikely they will go for 8hr shifts, doubles required staff, not to mention the oncosts of leave, insurance etc. I reckon an 8hr nightshift would be a walk in the park!

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    3. We have 23:00-07:00 shifts on the 8 hour rotas already! Easy shifts but youre at work for 8 days in a row sometimes!

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  15. Very well said, but you forgot politicians are bred to lie , it's the only promise they keep.

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  16. Brilliant post. Anne WIddecome should be made to publicly apologise at the very least. It's a shame West Midlands Ambulance Service don't have McAlpinesque funds as they have every right to sue for defamation.

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    1. They should and they would win. She has maligned an innocent crew and an entire profession for no reason other than personal gain!

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  17. Hmmm, it still took 41 minutes for the crew to get to the critically ill child. And blaming it on the fact that "the computer makes us unavailable for that period and we cannot be sent a call." seems like no excuse at all. It's the computer's fault. As a retained firefighter, our "computer" was never off. If somebody dialled 999 we responded. No matter when. We certainly didn't allow for the computer taking us off the run. Additionally, in December 2011 ambulance crews were offered a one-off new year bonus of £1500, plus £100 every time meal breaks were interrupted, in a bid to break the impasse in negotiations over the controversial issue. This on the back of the Tomintoul case, where a pensioner died when the local crew member was on a break and chose not to attend. And a toddler died when a crew taking a break 10 minutes away was not called (Drummond Castle) and instead another crew took 48 minutes to reach the family. I think the public has the right to be angry about the past history. Boy, I wish as a retained firefighter I'd been given £100 everytime a meal was interrupted - or a family gathering, or my nights sleep.

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    1. I dont know where that is but there was certainly no bonus payments or £100 per rest break interupted. We get £10 if we don't get a break but that's it. If it takes 41 minutes for the nearest available crew, thats how long it takes. There are clearly not enough ambulance for the call volume. To be the fair, the fire service and ambulance service cannot be compared to repsonces to 999 calls. My service responded to 1.8 million calls last year compared to 30,000 that the fire service got. We did this with less staff, less ambulance stations and 1 sixth of the budget. We cannot compete. The fire services averages 14 hours down time in a 16 hour shift. We have none. Youre picking on 3 isolated cases in millions of calls. I could recite the numerous pet rescues and people rescues where the fire service havn't done what is expected of them but like i said, they are isolated cases. We do up to 12 jobs in a 12 hour shift, we don't see our base station form the minute we start until an hour after we finish. The public have the right to recieve an ambulance staffed with people who are awake and alert, not exhausted.

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    2. And there was a paramedic on scene within minutes of the call.

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    3. Also, in response to the computer making us unavailable, ours is never off. If, by chance, we are given our break our callsign is removed from the system at HQ. The computer which automatically dispatches ambulances to 999 calls within a second of the call connecting cannot send us a job during the first half an hour of our break. We know nothing of any calls that are requiring ambulances whatsoever. There could be someone dying next door and we wouldn't know until our break is over. Seems that is a valid excuse for the crew that you and the media seem very quick to malign without all the facts. If you read the comment from 17:07 yesterday made my someone who works on the ambulance station in question you will see what effect these lies are having on the crew. I wish we could all be sat waiting on tenterhooks like the fire brigade to activate to our one daily call but sadly we dont have that luxury.

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    4. Part time, rarely needed Overtrained wannabe? Go back to Sainsburies counting sprouts. Do 20 years full time 12 hour rotating shifts, 3 working vf arrests on the trot and solo rtc response with no hope of back up. Stand down? Get one if you are lucky or late. Piss off.

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    5. Some of my best mates are firemen (and I know they don't shovel coal into boilers) but come on? First responders who spend all day masturbating over getting a 'shout', have your fun but to be the senior clinician EVERY day and always on a job having to rush down a cup a soup. Sounds ok to a wannabe but really? No. Suck it and see.

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    6. Not in the ambo service then?
      Obviously

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    7. I have no issue with firefighters, I commend the job they do but I object to them judging us when our jobs are do different. They simply don't understand working continuously for 12 hours without stopping and to make comments that the public has a right to better service is a bit of a cheap shot.

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    8. The meal break payments referred to were in the Scottish Ambulance Service and no it wasn't accepted (nothing to do with unions being great pals with senior management, am I being cynical?...). It was a young woman that sadly died in Tomintoul, not a pensioner (what were you saying about research?) Very similar scenario with the crew on a meal break. The crew being a probationer technician recently out of training school, totally unaware of the call, working with an auxiliary - which we'd been told would never happen, and sadly similar situations are still happening. It is wonderful to see the crew have the backing of their management (not always the case..), as it should always be when the crews are only following protocols.
      Is it not time the politicians/media personalities used their time on the bandstand to fight for ambulance services to be recognised as and given the funding of an emergency service?
      Ella, as many have said before your article is extremely eloquent and well researched. Perhaps you should consider a career in politics, but I'm sure your patients would lose out and doubt your little boy would be as proud of you as he is now.

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    9. Oh, FFS Mr Fireman. I work alongside retained Firemen and I'd expect better of them. I work in Scotland and yes we turned down a one off payment and call out fee, but mostly because a. It was unsustainable, b. It still left gaping holes in cover and c. The way it was being managed was potentially lethal. Ever heard of a cardiac arrest NOT being a red call. Because they were having to pay us per call, everything was being downgraded! It was a shambles. You fail to mention the fact that we ACCEPTED a deal that effectively removes our mealbreaks, and in so doing also cuts our annual leave by 2 days because of how it's calculated. All for the fantastic remuneration of..... Nothing. We get paid the time we work, nothing else. The 'payment' for us was the service being required to recruit 150 staff. This should be extra but, well, I'll not hold my breath. Before getting too high and mighty, you might also want to let us know what your retainer is, and how much you receive per call out. Cos I can guarantee you don't do it for free!

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    10. Thank you all! Some very well made points!! I don't know where he got his 'facts' from but they were wrong. Smells like your average hero complex kind of nonsense!

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    11. Hmm, in West mids our breaks are UNPAID and we can choose to have them undisturbed. If we agree to a disturbed break and are disturbed we get £20. Control decide if the call is worth the cost of disturbing us. By the way, how many calls did you usually deal with in a shift for the Fire Service? Any Ambo crew will be dealing with calls into double figures each shift. Our responders now stand by at fire stations but rarely go in unless they need to use the toilet facilities - Why? Because they get moaned at for waking the drip stands up!

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  18. Hit the nail on the head. But you forget that working for the public sector means you lay down your life in service of others (ahem)...

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  19. Thankyou , you have said what so many of us have been unable to put into words ( due mainly to frustration and anger ) .

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  20. Ella well done, you have said exactly what we all think, great response.
    stay safe.

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  21. Very well said and very well written.

    I think I'm right in saying that the dispatch software is programmed so that after a certain amount of time, it literally won't let a job be assigned to a crew if they haven't had their break (and rightly so for the crew's sake). Perhaps someone could confirm or debunk this...

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    1. Yes! Lets say we are due a 45 minute break for a 12 hour shift. Once put on break the computer and the staff in control are unable to interrupt us for the first 30 minutes. We are not paid for that rest break either. The last 15 minutes is interruptible and can be interrupted for a cardiac arrest only.

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  22. Fantastic rebuttal of a dreadful article by a celebrity "non-journalist". The Passant family are friends of mine and all through the trauma of watching little Thomas suffering they've had nothing but praise for front line staff.

    This version of events needs to be read as widely as posssible!

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    1. Thank you very much. The family have been through so much and deserved an ambulance much quicker. I truly hope some good will come of it and people will realise there is not enough of us on the roads.

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  23. Hi i am Paul Passant, Thomas's Grandfather, we do not in any way blame the crew for being on a break, they like any other worker in the essential services deserve them. I had an issue with the lack of crews being available to transport Thomas to Hospital this has now been resolved by the Ambulance Service in our area. A post said help was with Thomas whithin minutes, it was in fact 15 minutes and from the time of call to hospital 1 hour and 5 minutes.A journey which would normally take25 minutes. We as a family feel so sorry for the crew as they have nothing to feel guilty about.

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    1. Hi Paul, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I can only imagine the terrible time you and your family have been enduring and you all have my very deepest sympathies. I am posting a blog tomorrow highlighting another situation where the delay for an ambulance could have heart breaking consequences. Thomas should not have had to wait, regardless of a rest break. There has to be contingencies to allow rest time for crews and I admire the campaign you have started. If there is anything I can do to help just say. I hope Thomas is recovering well. I hope he recovers well. He's lucky to have such a strong family around him. Thanks again for your kind words in such a troubling time.

      Ella x

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  24. Only need to say this. Brilliant reply. I'm sick of these people commenting on issues they know nothing about, or putting some sort of political spin on it. The govt have got the services into this mess, yet will not admit it, nor take responsibility for it.

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    1. They are politicians! They don't do taking responsibility!

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  25. Unfortunately, you are correct. Well done again, on a truly brilliant piece of writing.

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  26. Brilliant, Ella, just brilliant xx

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  27. Small thing in the grand scheme f htings...but THANK YOU for pointing out that it was a cardiac arrest, NOT a heart attack! Been bugging me hugely haha! Brilliant blog as always x

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    1. Haha! Its my biggest pet hate!

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    2. I can understand MOP getting the two mixed up, but I've seen paramedics posting about "the baby that had a heart attack". If I can get it right as an event first aider and emergency responder, then a highly qualified paramedic certainly can ;)!

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  28. I work in Shropshire & not only know the crew in question but have worked with them both, I can assure Madeley & Widdicombe that both members of that crew would have walked over broken glass to attend a child in such a poorly condition & the way they have been defamed in the press is absolutely despicable. I know that if they had known of the job they would have responded unavailable break or not. A sensible controller would have called the crew up & explained the nature of the job & asked them to attend, sadly control is actively encouraged not to disturb crews even when on an available break. This is simply down to cost, a crew that is disturbed on a break receives a payment of £20 each. The cost of disturbed breaks was spiraling so the unofficial line passed to control is don't disturb crews at all costs. What cost the life of a child I ask? As to the 2 new ambulances in Shropshire, they are St.John crews. Make of that what you will but I do feel its a tad dishonest to refer to them as High Dependency crews as the service has done.

    Mr Passant lays the blame for the lack of an ambulance at the governments door, but just as a note I will say that the new system introduced in October was coming whether the cuts happened or not. This whole make ready system is Mr Marsh's baby, its been in the pipeline since I joined the service 7 years ago. As much as I despise David Cameron the blame is not his this time. We regularly have more cars on duty in Shropshire than ambulances & theres been as few as 9 ambulances on duty on nights. This is simply not enough. Yes Bridgnorth is now a higher priority in Shropshire but this just means that other ares of the county are stripped of cover. There are times as a lone Paramedic on a car I feel very exposed in the rural area I cover & the wait for an ambulance to back me up can sometimes seem endless.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Please pass on my regards to the crew and let them know they have support from down here too. I blame the government but not just this one. Every single one! They are all the same! I have no comment about St Johns! The less said the better! If I open my mouth im liable to land me a law suit!

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  29. ow dear anne how can someone with your interlect get it so wrong . do your homework . where were you xmas day boxing day every day not out there on the streets working a 12hr shift which most the time turns into a 13hr or even 14hr shift . My husbands works his backside off even when he has been ill himself . He ended up in hospital for working long periods of time with no fluids. please before you write such utter crap do ur homework . The ambulance service do put the public first they do come home exhausted feeling let down sometimes and if they lose someone they feel the pain of the families. The rest break protacol you should read then you will understand the service better. and to sit in a room with a couple of hundred medics and listen to them will be the biggest eye opener so please if you feel the need to write a fictional peice again do it about the house of commons so we can call you lot and tell you what a crap job your doing running the country .

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  30. as some one who had to retire with severe PTSD after over 30 years of being in the ambulance service,it is good to see that ambulance staff have not changed in any way and whilst saddened by the media attack it is not surprising or new. The whole question of meal breaks has been around since 1948 and is ofetn used to cover up successive political failure by all political parties who members continue to down grade resposibility for the whole concept of pre hospital care, example concept that we have an emergency ambulance service alongside fire& rescue and police, reality the ambulance service is an ESSENTIAL SERVICE, result still poor pay poor conditions and staff in thier late 50's and more still having to race around at all hours, far greater than fire or police staff, work load that is many times greater and more health and marriage problems than any other.It is all about money not lives.

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    1. Very true! I meant to say about the working age! Thank you!

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  31. Not long after baby Thomas Passant waited 41 minutes for an ambulance in Shropshire an elderly lady was left laying in the middle of the road for seventy minutes after being knocked down by a car... is this acceptable in 21st century Britain?.. I Think Not

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    1. Its outrageous! Poor lady, just horrible.

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  32. Nobody has mentioned that there was a crew on station waiting to go on break..... a paramedic crew due for break that control knew were available but they didn't send them!!!

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  33. Being Perormance Monitored, the Ambulance Sevice have to reach certain amounts of calls within a specified time i.e Life threatening calls within 8 minutes. Non life threatening within 19 minutes.
    I was horrified to overHEAR THAT THE CALLS CAN be "Tweeked" so that non life threstening calls can be recategorised into the life threatening calls category so that it show that they are reaching the life threatening calls within the 8 minute time span..In essence they are massaging the figures. Is it really upto the call takers to take on this responsibility?????
    Additionally, VOLUNTEER Community First Responders are being used to hit the targets but this is putting lives at risk in some certain circumstances they are not adequately qualified to deal with the emergency...
    I only hope that if anyone I know has a serious problem we do not get sent a CFR just so that we hit a target ( SORRY IF I OFFEND)

    TARGETS OR LIVES????

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    1. I don't hve proof that it happens but road staff suspect it! As for CFRs, I train them, and they are invaluable in some parts of the country. In cities, they are merely are target meeting machine.

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  34. "I was horrified to overHEAR THAT THE CALLS CAN be "Tweeked" so that non life threstening calls can be recategorised into the life threatening calls category so that it show that they are reaching the life threatening calls within the 8 minute time span..In essence they are massaging the figures. Is it really upto the call takers to take on this responsibility?????"

    Talking of not researching something properly... The retriaging of calls will be done by an experienced health care professional so that someone who has stubbed their toe won't become a 'red1 predicted cardiac arrest, gasping for breath'. Conversely an elderly patient who doesn't want to bother us with 'A bit of constipation' doesn't end up with sepsis can be upgraded to red 2.

    Incidently, when was the last time you did anything constructive to increase quality output of St John/CFR volunteers?

    Tj

    @meditude

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    1. They are, but the 'not alert' making are low priority 21 year old female with back pain a Red 2 doesnt sound clinical especially when we were half a mile away!

      Re-triaging is an important tool for the reasons you point out. As road staff though, some decisions seem suspect. Obviously, we only see the ones that change on route. Most is done before we get them. Like everything, there are always the odd examples that people go by, right or wrong!

      CFRs have their place but in my service are not used effectively. I train them in my spare time and they are more than capable. However, they are not allowed to be dispatched until an ambulance or car is on route! Therefor 95% of the time they arrive after the crew, or 30 seconds before so dont get to practice skills!

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  35. I dont need to research something properly that comes from the mouths of the people actually doing the job, who better to hear it from than those experiencing this farce day in and day out!!!!!Mmmmm you must either live in cloud cuckoo land or you work in control and are party to the lies that you are spreading!!! I have enough proof to back up what I say, as for cfr or st'johns. I admire anyone dedicated to helping people, can anyone who doesn't send an available ambulance to a poorly baby say the same?

    As for retriaging of calls... if the job is 2 minutes from an ambulance then the call doesn't get retriaged it just gets dispatched...

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  36. As for cfrs, (community first responders) They are supposed to be used for people in there local community. So how do you explain when they are sent to recognised Standby points to provide cover in areas where they dont live? They are being used as a means of cover or classified as a resource in an area which should have a full time ambulance there.

    Don't get me wrong, I admire anyone who gives there own time to help others...Then they want to join the ambulance service and become full time...Wht would the ambulance service recruit new staff when volunteers are providing a service for free??? Basically they are preventing themselves from getting a full time job by doing it for free...

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  37. Bloody good rebuttal, best wishes to all concerned, and bollocks to the lying journalists & politicians

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  38. So glad I don't practise in the UK and have to put up the comments from the twits that we put into power, keep blogging :)

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  39. In 2013 Me and my Mum, who is a call taker for South Central, have had Paramedics out 4 times, 2 times each, albeit for very real emergencies, but never once have I ever thought, even before their services and hard work for me and my mum, that any emergency services are doing anywhere near a bad job, you are everyday heros. I'm sure the percentage of those still living due to your services is much higher than those no longer living due to others idiocity, carelessness and greed, keep up the good work!

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