A paramedic has claimed ambulance staff are routinely “embarrassed” in front of the police and fire service by the service’s slow response to dealing with emergencies.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

The experienced paramedic, who does not wish to be named for fear of losing his job, warned that the struggles staff were facing would only get worse when roster changes are introduced at the start of March.

Under the changes, paramedics say they will have fewer staff and less vehicles to respond to emergencies in Norfolk.

The paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) said: “I’m regularly waiting a long time for back up for critical ill patients and it is very stressful.

“I came into the job to serve my community and it is getting worse in Norwich now.

“It can be heartbreaking. You know this person will benefit by getting into critical care quickly. You feel sorry and sad for them. I have had some people phone 999 in front of me saying look, where is the ambulance?

“We do our best but we are desperate for back-up. You feel both sad and angry. A lot of people are saying the same as me. Complaints are going up as well. The complaints are not directed at us but at the wait.

“You are embarrassed in front of the police and fire service.”

The paramedic added that when dealing with emergencies, such as serious car crashes, life for paramedics was often “cold, dark and lonely”.

He said: “You are thinking, I could be here for an hour. You are wondering, when is my back-up coming? You should be taking care of the patient but you are thinking where is my back-up?

“Police officers are looking at you with their hands in the air, saying what is happening? You are worried for your patients.”

The EEAST said it had a “raft of measures” planned to improve response times.

They include 140 new frontline staff, more powers at local level so staff and managers can deliver the right service for their area, new cars staffed by advance paramedics able to treat less serious patients in their home so they don’t have to go to A&E, liaising with hospitals to reduce handover times and better designed rotas to work more effectively.

•East Anglian MPs will quiz ambulance bosses on response times at a meeting in Westminster next month.

The politicians are meeting with the trust’s chairman Maria Ball and interim chief executive Andrew Morgan on March 14 to get an update on what the ambulance service is doing to reduce response times. A spokeswoman for the EEAST said: “This meeting was arranged as a follow up from the previous one in November between all parties to keep MPs up to date on the progress the ambulance service is making. We view these regular meetings as important in ensuring a positive, effective and open dialogue with MPs.”

17 comments

  • So, anonymous union member slags off service for political purposes. Surprised a newspaper will play ball with this sort of story ..

    Report this comment

    J Smith

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • It isnt just about response times but the whole administration at the N&N. The night care on several of the wards is totally lacking.. I speak from experience. Usually enough staff but lack of care and intolerance to patients needs .

    Report this comment

    MIKEJ

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Do the people running this trust take their management lessons from Stafford Hospital? If they do not get this sorted out they will be the next national scandal. Keep up the pressure EDP and MPs, and don't be fobbed off.

    Report this comment

    a fine city

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • You are more likely to see a paramedic in a rapid response car than an amulance which will be crewed by two emergency medical technicians who are not trained to the same standards as paramedics

    Report this comment

    norfolkandgood

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • My partners daughter had a serious motorcycle accident near Holt about 2 weeks ago. It took over 2 hours for an ambulance turn up - despite several hastening calls from the increasingly frustrated first response paramedic. She spent 2 hours laid on a wet and icy busy main road with a spinal fracture while traffic was diverted around her. It was so cold the first response paramedic was losing the ability to hold her neck still as he was shivering so much. response rates like this are down to incompetence at management level. It also raises questions about who is calling the priorities in the control room when repeated calls from police and paramedics fail to get an ambulance in attendance for two hours. The whole health service has got its priorities sadly wrong here - too much money spent on high slaried executives, management consutlants and budgetary staff and all at the expense of frontline clinical staff and equipment.

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • Until NHS managers face the law courts for negligence,nothing will change.The Francis report into Stafford has confirmed NHS managers are not accountable to the public.Put a few in prison and never let them work again.Then things might change.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • My partners daughter had a serious motorcycle accident near Holt about 2 weeks ago. It took over 2 hours for an ambulance turn up - despite several hastening calls from the increasingly frustrated first response paramedic. She spent 2 hours laid on a wet and icy busy main road with a spinal fracture while traffic was diverted around her. It was so cold the first response paramedic was losing the ability to hold her neck still as he was shivering so much. response rates like this are down to incompetence at management level. It also raises questions about who is calling the priorities in the control room when repeated calls from police and paramedics fail to get an ambulance in attendance for two hours. The whole health service has got its priorities sadly wrong here - too much money spent on high slaried executives, management consutlants and budgetary staff and all at the expense of frontline clinical staff and equipment.

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Monday, February 11, 2013

  • What is Norman Lamb *actually* doing about all this? Bleating on about cuts having nothing to do with him and saying he'll fix it... but when?

    Report this comment

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • I find it rediculous that paramedics bring patients to A & E at N&N have to book their patients in in the mail A&E reception. Why on earth do they not have their booking in reception in the treatment area. The A&E admissions staff are most unhelpful any way and would be better suited working in the POST office. Once you get past these reception staff the treatment is excellent. I fully share the frustration these paramedics have to bear.

    Report this comment

    MIKEJ

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • You are more likely to see a paramedic in a rapid response car than an amulance which will be crewed by two emergency medical technicians who are not trained to the same standards as paramedics

    Report this comment

    norfolkandgood

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Same old, same old from the management lots of new front-line CARS to respond. I am Sorry but CARS do not ferry people to hospital - Ambulances DO !!! And that is what we lack - especially in North Norfolk where the waiting times for ambulances are measured in hours not minutes !

    Report this comment

    Farquarson-Smythe

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Norfolkandgood, I would be grateful to see two emergency technicians on an ambulance together, they can assess a patient, give drugs and treat the patient into hospital. Paramedics do work on ambulances also, but worryingly, the point being missed, is that the trust are employing 140 ECA staff. An ECA is basically a community first responder who can stop the clock for targets but cannot actually assess or treat a patient without the support of a technician or paramedic. These are being crewed up together on ambulances throughout the trust as a cost cutting measure, with the only cost being to the welfare of the public.

    Report this comment

    Newuser07

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Having been admitted to A&E only last week the system of paramedics worked very well in my instance. They and their team members are let down by the staff in A&E, One I noticed, some kind of junior, was constantly drinking water, he never attended a patient, assisted with observations, or as much as spoke to anyone. What is he being paid for? A&E became a bottle neck and crews were told not to bring anyone else in, they really need to sort this out, if the crews are waiting about to handover patients it's going to have a knock on effect and delay them getting back out on the road.

    Report this comment

    getreal

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • The inquest into the death of the young woman in south Norfolk, where a paramedic in an emergency response vehicle was overwhelmed by the accident exemplifies the problem. We have been sold the case for fast response units on the basis that they save heart attack victims. Now we really need to see the figures for how many have actually been saved by fast response units who would not have been otherwise, and how many people with strokes or serious injuries have been left worse off in the long term because there was no ambulance to get them to hospital quickly..I thought the mantra was once to get people into hospital quickly so doctors could do their job.As for the hospitals, they are shameful and the government should be doing something to change admission procedures put in place solely to meet targets set by Labour, .Another problem seems to be non medical or under qualified staff making the dispatch decisions based on a check list.Like the "computer say no" it is obvious that a check list which leaves a kid with a back injury on a rugby field for hours isn't taking into account the potential for permanent paralysis and is badly designed. We also need an independent academic study to determine the minimum number of ambulances really needed to cover a large rural area and meet the desired times for getting to the known and projected number of cases that the Trust is there to serve. They must know the location and timing of every case they have dealt with in the last few years-a bit of computer modelling should reveal the shortfall. This problem is affecting all the rural parts of the area served by the Trust, not just Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • Farquarson-Smythe, well said.... I also fail to see the point of these rapid thingys when they have no mean of transporting seriously ill or injured patients to hospitals. Are the staff that man the thingys less qualified than normal paramedic crews ?

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • It isnt just about response times but the whole administration at the N&N. The night care on several of the wards is totally lacking.. I speak from experience. Usually enough staff but lack of care and intolerance to patients needs .

    Report this comment

    MIKEJ

    Friday, February 8, 2013

  • What a funny world you people live in. You have made the fundamental mistake of assuming the health service is something to do with patient needs, care, or the like. Let me assure you the modern health service is a centre of excellence for management remuneration, creative accounting, target manipulation, spin, deceit, etc, these being just a smidgen of many, many facets required to run a successful business in the 21st century. Success in this case being measured by all of the “high-flyers” getting their huge snouts in the trough and then getting away with not being prosecuted when it all goes tits up.

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isaliar

    Friday, February 8, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 7°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT