Paramedics ‘forced to make impossible choices’ by new ambulance policy, MEP says

PUBLISHED: 07:50 19 September 2018

East of England Ambulance Service

East of England Ambulance Service


An MEP has criticised the ‘sharing’ of ambulances by the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.

Alex Mayer MEPAlex Mayer MEP

Alex Mayer, MEP for the eastern region, says the service is hoping to improve the speed they get to patients by dispatching ambulances that already have a patient on board, but, as a result, they are forcing paramedics to make ‘impossible choices’.

It is understood the policy was adopted in August in a bid to improve response times to get to patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses, known as category one calls.

“What a mess,” Ms Mayer said. “The East of England Ambulance service is on the front line, hemmed in by queues at A&E and attending more call outs because of cuts to social care. This is an NHS crisis made in Downing Street that needs a holistic solution. I’m worried for patients and for hardworking paramedics who are being forced to make impossible choices.”

However, the ambulance trust has said incidents where ambulances already carrying patients may attend another call are rare.

Robert Morton, chief executive at the East of England Ambulance Trust, and Dr Tom Davis, medical director said: “There are rare situations where a crew who are transporting a clinically stable patient may be passing close by to a life-threatening category one incident.

“In such rare circumstances, it is absolutely right that the crew are contacted to assess if it is clinically safe for the patient on board, if the crew were to stop at the incident and give immediate life-saving care before the arrival of the next closest ambulance or car.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said it would be at the discretion of each clinical crew to decide whether their stable patient’s welfare would be unduly jeopardised by diverting to the category one incident.

“We had support from our clinical commissioning groups who have ensured we have more funding to pay for more staff and ambulance to help to make improvements to our performance,” the spokesman said. “It will take time to get the right numbers of staff and vehicles in place. This long term plan therefore needs support of a shorter term plan, entirely focused on those with life-threatening injuries.

“It is entirely right that we make these decision with the clinicians involved. It is ok for them to say no. Clinicians would only ever be expected to divert to a category one incident to give immediate assistance for those few minutes until another ambulance arrives.

“Most of our ambulances contain a wide range of modern equipment for assessing and treating patients on the scene, and cannot transport more than one stretchered patient at a time.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

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

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Saffron Walden Reporter 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 Saffron Walden Reporter 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 Saffron Walden Reporter 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

Yesterday, 15:01

Police are appealing for information about a knifepoint robbery in Stansted at around 8pm yesterday.

Yesterday, 11:21

New figures from Essex Police reveal that the number of burglaries in the county over the last year has dropped by six per cent, meaning there have been 791 fewer burglaries this year.

Yesterday, 08:50

Saffron Walden Town Council received the annual Essex Community Award from Essex County Council and Essex Association of Local Councils.

Yesterday, 08:45

Chris Dyson, from Saffron Walden, and his brother-in-law Ian Cowan, from Denham in Suffolk, set off on October 5 to drive 2,000 miles in 48 hours to raise money for charity.

Digital Edition

Read the Saffron Walden Reporter e-edition E-edition

Most read stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Saffron Walden Reporter weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy