Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

Trust considering asking volunteers to drive ambulances to cope with winter pressures

PUBLISHED: 19:14 02 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:32 03 August 2018

Stock photo of an ambulance. Photo: Archant

Stock photo of an ambulance. Photo: Archant

The region’s ambulance trust has floated the idea of asking volunteers to drive ambulances to help cope with winter pressures, it can be revealed.

East of England Ambulance Trust (EEAST) faced unprecedented demand last winter, with more than 3,200 calls answered every day.

And in a bid to stop a repeat this winter, bosses have asked community first responder (CFR) volunteers whether they would be prepared to drive ambulances in “very early discussions” on how they could be utilised.

CFRs respond to local emergency calls and provide life saving first aid in those vital minutes before an ambulance arrives.

In an internal email, seen by this newspaper, CFR coordinators were asked for feedback on “supporting double staffed ambulances and attending low acuity patients where the CFR could then potentially drive qualified crew members and patient” to a hospital or care home.

The email also asked whether volunteers would be interested in attending calls to patients who had fallen but were not injured.

Speaking to the Health Service Journal (HSJ), one senior paramedic who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Does it pose a risk to patient safety? Without a doubt. What happens if the patient suddenly deteriorates and needs to be blue lighted to hospital?

“The paramedic in the back can’t do it. They need to be attending the patient. The staff are very against it. As a paramedic you want to be working with someone who is qualified and knows what they are doing.

“I have never heard anything like this in all my years. CFRs fulfil a very important role in their respective communities, but they should be there in their communities, not on frontline ambulances.”

The use of volunteers to drive ambulances is thought to be common place in countries such as Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

Suggestion was also made in the HSJ that the trust would look to bring in the military to support staff over the winter.

But it is believed this referred to the Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) Protocol, which can kick in in times of crisis.

The spokesman added: “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.”

Fresh concerns have been raised over the quality of Suffolk schools as the latest data has revealed soaring numbers are being judged ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted.

A Suffolk council has been accused of “wasting” £10,000 on a “bodged job” to improve a memorial boating lake.

Watch our video of this £500,000 Victorian property which has a wine store and a walk in wardrobe.

Seafood fans had their taste buds tantalised at Woodbridge’s annual ShuckFest this weekend, as hundreds of visitors got a chance to sample the coastal produce that Suffolk is famous for.

This week Suffolk Saab owners have been discussing why they love the Swedish vehicles on Twitter while Ipswich Town fans have been paying tribute to the late, great Kevin Beattie.

More than 200 services have been delayed on Greater Anglia’s main line this weekend - with unforeseen maintenance issues compounding disruption caused by planned works on the track to London Liverpool Street.

A village is set to get a fourth defibrillator after a landlord saved the life of a man who suffered a heart attack in his pub.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24