John Mann gets it wrong, again

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 Responses

  1. Peter Osiuki says:

    Sorry to have to report but this is not how things happen. If when I arrive at work I log on for duty I am almost immediately sent out on a job due to the huge demand for the service. It is a very rare occurence for an ambulance to be mopped out at the beginning of the shift & your belief that there are cleaning facilities at hospitals are erroneous to the extreme. There is a room at Queens Med but it’s often filthy & the mop heads are replaced infrequently. There’s not one at Kings Mill, Doncaster, Derby or at Bassetlaw. In closing stations E.M.A.S. will have all their vehicles in the town centres at the beginning of the shift & once there it’s very difficult to get to outlying areas due again to the demand from town. Your argument is badly researched and comes across as just an excuse to put John Mann down.
    I have no affiliations to any political party but am deeply concerned about the poor service that people in outlying areas will receive if these ambulance stations are closed. Phil Milligan is the Chief Executive. I believe he came out on an ambulance once or twice but believe me he has never used a mop & bucket in one.

    • Leon Duveen says:

      I think you have just proved my point about the current arrangements need improving. I think it is a waste of Ambulance crews time to prepare Ambulances for shifts, this should be done before hand. There is also little point having a large number of buildings standing empty most of the time. Just to keep the service as it is will not give the improvements needed. The proposed plans put forward by EMAS are by no means perfect but those opposing closing Ambulance Stations have not come up with any other way of improving the service, even though many admit that it is failing. As for providing cleaning facilities at hospitals, while they may not be there currently, it should be possible to arrange this and make sure that every day they are visited & restocked as needed by (non-Ambulance) EMAS staff.
      I completely agree with your point about the danger of Ambulances being sucked in to the cities & bigger towns and not providing the service needed to the outlying areas but this is already happening so regardless of where the nominal base for Ambulance is, hub of local station, this is something that EMAS will need to address.

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