I wrote recently about Ambulance delays and how they are potentially affecting every one of us.
The problem has now moved on, certainly not got much better, and most probably worse.
Last Friday the Daily Express reported the concerns of the Police Federation that Police Officers are increasingly being deployed to incidents that could and should have been more appropriately responded to by an Ambulance crew.
Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales Steve Williams said officers are increasingly having to cover when an ambulance is required after an accident or crime.
He said: “We are noticing that the need for police to respond to emergency ambulance calls is no longer an isolated one. This is concerning in a time where resources for the police are stretched to near capacity.
“Let me be clear – the police will continue to respond to those who need us as soon as possible, and if this means responding when the ambulance service is unable to do so, then we will support our partners and the public eagerly.
“However, there remains a wider point here for Government and the emergency services in terms of the risk in not addressing the resourcing issue and wider public safety concerns. We would welcome Government’s view as to how they will help us to address the problem.”
Chairman of Essex Police Federation Mark Smith said his officers have to take patients to hospital nearly every day. He said: “We are having to convey to hospital almost daily in Essex at the moment. We are not pointing the finger at paramedics and ambulance crews, they are going through cuts as the police are going through cuts. The paramedics and ambulance staff join to do a job and I feel they, like us, are not able to do the job in the best way they can to serve the public.”
One member told him about a case where a pregnant woman who had been assaulted was told she would have to wait four hours for an ambulance. She was taken to hospital in a police car which had to keep stopping so she could vomit because she was in pain.
The problems associated with this practice are many and obvious.
Police Officers, while perfectly well-meaning, are not fully trained Paramedics.
While Police Officers are dealing with incidents such as these they are doing nothing towards “Reducing Crime and nothing else”
The Ambulance crews are only not attending because they are being held up at hospitals all over the place (see my previous blogs on this subject).
What would happen if, Heaven forbid, some tragedy ensued while officers were bravely trying to deal with an incident they were not trained to deal with? Would they end up getting sued for trying to do their best?
What would happen if the Police vehicle was involved in a collision en route to hospital? Would the CPS be suitably sympathetic to the Police driver?
Maybe, just maybe, this government needs to recognise the Chaos Theory and if they tinker with too much, things WILL go wrong. If David Cameron flaps his wings in Westminster, things WILL go wrong on the streets of Great Britain, and they have done, and that can be demonstrated.