Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Unhappy Trumpton.....Bless!


"Fire Brigade concerns at ambulance delays"

I woke up this morning after a long 12 hour shift, to see a BBC article about the fire brigade YET AGAIN trying their best to undermine the ambulance service about response times. Don't for one minute think, that the complaint actually has anything whatsoever to do with them waiting for us. It's part of their ongoing attempt to assume control of the ambulance service so they can play the part of 'Action Hero' and deal with fire and medical emergencies like they do in America.

Last year I wrote a blog called Fire Brigade: Hands of our Service detailing their attempts to take our work away. And they didn't want to take everything, oh no. Just the high categories of calls. The juicy traumas, the cardiac arrests and the sick children. Basically, all the stuff the public would hear about. Funny that. 

Today's tripe wasn't their own story either. It has basically been copied and pasted from an article about how the police service are having to wait a long time for ambulances, which in fairness, they do! Equally though, we often have to wait for police. What gets me though is that the fire brigade take this stance and justify it by saying that they are never delayed. I've said it in previous posts but I'll say it again! THAT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE WAITING FOR CALLS! We are not. The police are not. Both services have more calls than there are resources for and proportionally both have much smaller budgets than the fire service. Not wanting to sound like a broken record, but in London alone there are 1.8 million calls a year to the 230,000 the fire service receive. London ambulance attend 1.3 million of those. The LFB refused to attend over 110,000 of those calls (almost 50%), only 29,000 were fires and they also charge for a lot of the calls they do attend! Their budget is eight times ours! We can't compete and should not be compared!

They speak of 'desperation' when following up on the status of emergency calls! Do they think the ambulance service forgets about them?! An ambulance will arrive when there is one available, no matter how many times you ring and moan, it won't speed up the process! One thing that was also omitted from the report was the amount of fire calls the ambulance service attend unnecessarily! In my ambulance career I have been to in excess of 30 'House Fire, persons reported' jobs, and only once have we had a patient. The rest we have been there just in case. What a waste of a resources. Only last week, I went to a cardiac arrest and there were no other units to assist me and my crew mate. We were on our own for 40 minutes. 800 yards away was a 'house fire' with an ambulance and an FRU standing by because the fire brigade had requested them. There was no patients at all. Looking for causes of delays?! There's one!

Yes, there is a problem with responding to all the calls the ambulance services up and down the country receive. There are not enough ambulances and not enough staff, but that is no reason to jump on the band wagon, for personal gain, with no real point other than undermining the work we are doing. Air your complaints at the government, not the ambulance service. You'll notice that in the article, all the speculation they made, not one incident was reported where the delays in getting an ambulance caused anyone to die or suffer in the long term because of it. No where did it say that the private ambulance that was dispatched, with 'untrained' staff, to an RTC didn't in fact deal with the patient they had. The article, like most others that the fire brigade release as part of their propaganda campaign, is baseless. 

Perhaps as a solution they could offer up some of their exorbitant budget to us! Apparently us paramedics agree with the fire service but are afraid to speak out! Funnily enough, they had no anonymous quotes! I certainly don't agree, and I know most of my colleagues will feel the same way.

Stop this nonsense, concentrate on ducks in ponds, dogs down badger dens, cats in trees, cows in ditches and the odd fire and if given the infinite resources you have, we'll match your response times and come and wait on standby at your fire calls even quicker than we do already. It's worth remembering that whilst the fire service deals with fires, pet rescues and major RTCs, we also deal with the fire's and the RTCs too. On top of that we deal with the millions of emergency medical calls, we are an OOH social service for GPs, mental health teams & patient transport services. We are addiction councillors and a taxi service to the nations drunk people. I'm really looking forward to writing a post about the paralytic fireman I picked up from a bus stop last week!

So, yet again my dear fireman, get your own house in order before you try and take ours! Hands off our service!


11 comments:

  1. We had a call recently where two fire crews were discussing how busy they were. They said that they were run off their feet and had their.dinner spoilt. When asked how many calls they had done the grand total was 1. When told we, the ambulance crew had done 12 calls and had not got there meal break, they admitted it had been a long time since they had done 12 calls in a week, never mind in a day.

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    1. Haha! Our local station averages 3 a week!

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  2. I would love to see what would happen to the Fire Brigade if they took over our role. They'd become a very well funded ambulance servce with an unusually large HART team trained in firefighting...

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    1. Don't ever get me started on HART!

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  3. I was sent solo on a 'call connect' job. Update on the way to the call (to a block of warden-assisted flats) was "fire alarm has gone off" (No, I didn't resist the urge to point out that we were the wrong service). Arrived before fire - not entirely sure what I could have done with my car's one tiny fire extinguisher, but fortunately there was no fire anyway. I was thrilled to be late off for that one!

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  4. ugh dont get me started on this, I find it utterly ridiculous the amount of positive press the fire brigade has in comparison to the Police and Ambulance, what is that all about.
    Dont get me wrong potentially they have a very dangerous job, but its a known fact that fires etc are down due to safer environments etc.
    But really it annoys me to no end, especially as one snowy night shift we got trapped down at the local fire station, due to us not being able to get to the ambulance station, we watched them play on their xbox, have their dinner as we all went out and in and then the night shift went to bed, with relief coming on in case the night shift couldnt get home.
    Meanwhile our night shift, some got stranded on base and had to sleep on station before their night shift that night.
    *sighs*

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    1. Haha! yep! Thats the way the cookie crumbles!

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    2. The Fire service send a press release out for every single job they attend. This makes it easy for the press to publish glowing reports of how well Fire and Rescue have done, usually with a note note saying "The patient was then taken to hospital by Ambulance".

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  5. One of our Ambulance Stations is 200yds down the road from a Fire Station. Their management has put a complaint into our management as our constant coming and going through the night with our blue lights on is keeping their night shift awake! In typical Ambo Management fashion, we have now been asked to turn our lights on further down the road! In response I now Rev the engine extra hard, make sure my lights are All on, especially the Right hand Alley light! And sometimes my foot accidentally hits the Bull horn switch when I take my foot off the clutch! ;-)

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    1. I must say if I had been given the same complaint I would've done the exact same thing! Good how their night staff get sleep, complaining if they're interrupted from an ambulance attending an emergency...get them on a 12 hour night shift with you, see how long they last then!! Rediculous

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