Fire ser­vice re­lents on am­bu­lance driv­ing ban

● Plans to train fire­fight­ers to help am­bu­lance staff in ru­ral ar­eas

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By ALASTAIR DALTON Trans­port Cor­re­spon­dent

Fire chiefs are to re­verse their ban on fire­fight­ers driv­ing am­bu­lances af­ter the in­ter­ven­tion of the head of NHS Scot­land.

The Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice (SFRS) said it would act “as quickly as pos­si­ble” to train staff to help out in ru­ral ar­eas.

It fol­lows a fire­fighter driv­ing a road crash vic­tim to hospi­tal in Shet­land so two paramedics could con­tinue treat­ing him.

The SFRS re­sponded by say­ing fire­fight­ers were not al­lowed to drive am­bu­lances be­cause they were not trained or in­sured

NHS chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Gray tweeted in re­sponse to The Scots­man’s story yes­ter­day about the ban: “I’m dis­cussing with @CHIEF_SFRS [chief of­fi­cer Alas­dair Hay] – we all want to re­solve this quickly.”

0 The Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Ser­vice said it could au­tho­rise any­one to drive its ve­hi­cles

The Scot­tish Govern­ment later con­firmed the pair were “dis­cussing the is­sues”.

A spokesman said: “We want to en­able our emer­gency ser­vices to be as flex­i­ble as pos­si­ble while still main­tain­ing the lev- els of safety and care the pub­lic de­pends on.”

SFRS as­sis­tant chief of­fi­cer Lewis Ram­say said: “The safety of our com­mu­ni­ties and our fire­fight­ers is of para­mount im­por­tance to the ser­vice and our op­er­a­tional poli­cies are de­signed to en­sure we de­liver this at all times.

“We are com­mit­ted to work­ing with our unions and our coun­ter­parts in the Scot­tish Am­bu­lance Ser­vice (SAS) to agree na­tional ar­range­ments that will en­able lo­cal flex­i­bil­ity and de­liv­ery.”

The SFRS’S di­rec­tor of re­sponse and re­silience added: “We are ac­tively seek­ing meet­ings to iden­tify how we can now train our per­son­nel to as­sist the staffing needs of the SAS in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

“Where­asafes­o­lu­tion­canbe iden­ti­fied, one that also al­lows the SFRS to main­tain crit­i­cal fire cover in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, we will work to­wards putting the nec­es­sary mech­a­nisms in place – as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Af­ter the Shet­land in­ci­dent in Au­gust, vic­tim John Gold, 50, who suf­fered mul­ti­ple in­juries in­clud­ing a col­lapsed lung, said the fire­fighter had saved his life, and out­law­ing the prac­tice was “non­sense”.

He said: “What does it have to come to? Does some­body have to die be­fore they re­alise? The emer­gency ser­vices up here help each other out.

“I heard the am­bu­lance man say­ing, ‘Is there any­one who can drive the am­bu­lance for us’, be­cause he and the other para­medic had to stay there be­cause there were an­other three ca­su­al­ties.”

The SAS has said it could au­tho­rise any­one with the cor­rect li­cence to drive its ve­hi­cles, who the ser­vice would also fully in­sure.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.