Our crisis-hit ambulance service is considering using volunteer and military drivers

PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:03 10 August 2018

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is considering using community first responders to drive ambulances. Picture: EEAST

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust is considering using community first responders to drive ambulances. Picture: EEAST

Archant

Our struggling ambulance service is considering using volunteers to drive frontline ambulances in a bid to tackle a staffing crisis.

The unprecedented move by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust would see ambulances driven by community first responders, who are volunteers trained to respond to local emergency calls and provide life-saving first aid before an ambulance arrives.

In an internal email, the NHS trust’s senior leadership says it wants feedback from CFRs on how they could be further used. This includes proposals for them driving frontline ambulances in “low acuity patient” cases, as well as responding to patient falls.

The ideas floated have raised concerns over patient safety, with paramedics questioning what would happen if a patient suddenly deteriorated and needed to be blue-lighted to hospital. The NHS trust does not intend to train CFRs to drive on blue lights.

Using the military has also been suggested as an option, as the ambulance service looks at how it can plug staffing gaps ahead of winter pressures.

An ambulance service spokesman said: “While it is well-known that readiness protocols like this exist in the event of extreme circumstances, this is not at all reflective of current planning arrangements.”

Last winter saw delayed response times trigger a risk summit involving NHS England after claims 40 patients were harmed or died due to ambulance delays over Christmas and new year.

The risk summit identified a raft of key actions, including deploying additional staff and vehicles.

Last month, health watchdog the Care Quality Commission rated the NHS trust as ‘requires improvement’, saying it was failing to meet legal requirements when it comes to safe care and treatment, staffing and governance.

The 19 clinical commissioners in the east of England have agreed a six-year contract with the ambulance service which will see a rise in funding from £213.5m in 2017/18 to £225m in 2018/19 and up to £240m in 2019/20.

Capital funding of £6.5 million has also been secured as part of a nationwide funding boost from the Department of Health and Social Care, and will be used to create a network of modern hubs and community ambulance stations at 10 sites, including Stevenage.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ely Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ely Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ely Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

54 minutes ago

Rotarians, scouts and the promise of a squad of 50 volunteer stewards will run this year’s Ely fireworks display on Cherry Hill – and the Ely Standard has agreed to be its print media partner.

Fleet Street journalist Andrew Pierce was today the feeling the pangs of embarrassment after being hoodwinked by a satirical blog that falsely stated the UKIP flag was flown over Ely Cathedral.

15:28

Human bones have been found near a pathway in the cemetery of Chatteris Parish Church.

15:27

An annual charity motorcycle ride in memory of biker Phil Beeton will be taking place this weekend.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Ely Standard weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy