Ambulance Watch - A paramedic speaks out: 'On behalf of the paramedics, technicians and support staff who will be struggling to do their best in these intolerable conditions, I can only apologise.'
PUBLISHED: 08:45 09 October 2012
I am a paramedic who has recently stepped down from front line duties due to a back injury, however I continue to be in close contact with many operational staff who are still in the fight.
Sadly, it feels like a fight already lost.
Speaking to many road staff about their experiences makes for bleak conversation.
Today’s ambulance service is broken. Ambulance crews are routinely brutalised throughout their gruelling shifts by an endless barrage of calls.
Throughout East Anglia, crews and lone responders struggle to reach emergencies to deliver the care they desperately want to give, but with a depleted fleet already shown not to be sufficient to meet demand, they now face the impossible.
Government cuts will see fewer ambulances and more single responders in rapid response vehicles.
This will mean that, although on the surface government targets may be met, behind the scenes it will be at the cost of patient care.
North Norfolk already presents the challenges of long runs to hospital from scattered towns and villages.
The flawed logic behind the new plans will see more patients left at home or encouraged to find their own way to hospital.
Those who urgently need an ambulance will be stranded at the scene of their accident along with the single responder.
They will be forced to wait for one of the few remaining ambulances which are likely to be queuing to drop off their previous patient at overrun A&E departments.
The Act on Ambulances campaign in north Norfolk performed a minor miracle by getting the East of England Ambulance Service Board to review their proposals, but reducing the number of withdrawn ambulances from five to three-and-a-half is unlikely to make a significant impact.
The long journeys remain. The call demand continues to rise.
I believe the EEAST leadership claims that new deployment plans will improve service are wrong.
It is simply a cost-saving exercise.
The funding has not been made available to provide the level of service that is needed.
Anyone in a position to make a difference, should do so.
Write to your MP, join the Act on Ambulances or EDP Ambulance Watch campaign, do everything you can to help. Otherwise, the day will come when the ambulance service might not be in a position to help you.
On behalf of the paramedics, technicians and support staff who will be struggling to do their best in these intolerable conditions, I can only apologise.
Your ambulance service may well fail you, but it is not the fault of those who eventually come to your aid.
Mat Westhorpe writes the Broken Paramedic blog, which can be viewed at http://brokenparamedic.blogspot.co.uk/