by Leon Duveen on 16 September, 2012
In his column last week our MP, John Mann, announced yet another one of his petitions. This time he is asking you to sign up to oppose the closing of the Ambulance Stations in Worksop & Retford. Part of his rationale for doing this is his concern about how, with no Ambulance Station to return to, will the vehicles be cleaned after an incident. I quote from his petition “If an ambulance needs cleaning, which often happens because of a patient’s condition, it will need to return from the hospital it has taken a patient to back to the other side of Mansfield. Staff will be based at Kings Mill. But our ambulances go to Sheffield for heart attacks, Doncaster for strokes and Bassetlaw for everything else.”
This is a valid point so I decided to write to Phil Miligan (pictured), Chief Executive of EMAS, to ask the same question. Here his response (provided within hours of my sending him the question in an email):
Today, at the beginning of a shift, the crew will clean the vehicle. The crew will wipe the vehicle patient ‘touch points’ (e.g. the stretcher, ECG leads) when they have finished with a patient and (if it is a messier job, e.g. if a patient has been sick) they can clean at the hospital where there will be a mop and bucket etc.
If there is a need for a deep clean after a particularly difficult incident, the crew will return to station to clean out the ambulance, where they can empty equipment tout and get into ‘nooks and crannies’, this is an infrequent event.
The ‘make ready’ service [in the proposed new arrangements] will provide the crew with a clean ambulance at the beginning of the day, releasing the crew for immediate availability for patients. The crew will continue to clean between patients at the patient’s home or at the hospital. In the event of a particularly difficult job, if the crew is near to a new hub they will be able to switch vehicles for a clean one (this is quicker than travelling back to a station and doing the clean themselves) or the make ready team will be able to take a spare vehicle out to the crew to swap it.
As you can see, rather than slowing down ambulance crews from responding to incidents, using hubs rather than local ambulance stations will actually free up the crews to be able to respond faster.
Yet again John Mann has shown that he is not interested in the facts of the case or in having a better service. If he had wanted to find out about the cleaning of ambulances, he could have asked EMAS directly to get the answer. All John Mann seems to be interested in to creating some publicity for himself.
The real issue with the ambulance service, which John Mann does not address, is the very low average response times to “immediately life-threatening calls” in Bassetlaw, currently only 61% being responded to in 8 minutes when the national target is 75%. If I need an ambulance, I don’t care if it comes from Worksop Ambulance Station, a hub at Kings Mill or even from John O’Groats, what I care about that it arrives as quickly as possible, hopefully with the 8 minutes target time or less. If, as EMAS claim, the changes they propose helps the ambulances achieve that, then we should be supporting them.2 Comments