OVER the past few months we, your public service frontline ambulance staff, have become increasingly unhappy about the level of ambulance cover within the Huntingdonshire area.
Shift after shift there have been serious shortcomings in the numbers of available ambulances and rapid response vehicles operating from out three stations - Huntingdon, St Ives and St Neots.
Regularly, particularly on night shifts, there have often been one or two ambulances operating out of a total of four.
Staff are embarrassed by this lack of cover but the obvious increase in workload is now taking its toll. The impact on the patients we serve is being felt by not only an increase in the time it takes to get an ambulance to attend but by the likely situation that the crew that arrives on scene may not be appropriately trained to deal with the presenting medical condition.
Over the last three years or so the East of England Ambulance Service has, like other ambulance trusts, been recruiting in large numbers emergency care assistants (ECA), none clinically trained helpers, to man ambulances alongside paramedics. Up to now this model of working has not been implemented , due in part to the shortfall in the numbers of trained paramedics.
Often, though, the trust will refute this when questioned - ECAs work together with clinicians, responding to emergency calls with a clinician being despatched to back them up. But due to the poor level of cover, this clinical backup is often many miles away. Not helpful with a poorly patient.
We have a very top heavy organisation with a huge array of senior managers whose salaries are staggering. This is a public service, run for and on behalf of the tax payer. Why and how can this organisation seem to be run without in-depth public scrutiny.
Are the local councils, health authorities, PCTs, the National Health Service and, ultimately, government ministers unwilling to ensure public services are run correctly?
We want to provide the best possible service we can, given the national constraints we have to work to. But morale is rock bottom and dissatisfaction rising.
Your ambulance service is sinking so please help us stop our senior managers from steering us onto the rocks.
Look out for cuts to ambulances and cars as there is a major review of resources across the service.
NAME AND ADDRESS WITHHELD