The ambulance service PR machine is cranking up for a fight.
They got the Staffordshire Ambulance PR honcho to ring me up on Monday to plead how good the service is in their area (look for glowing letters from them in our local papers).
That is what everyone said ten years ago, but then it all collapsed in acrimony. They were not so good after all. “Ah!” said Mr PR “but we are the best now”. Not according to the chief Coroner of Staffordshire speaking just three weeks ago. “The staff all love us” PR man bellowed.
But has he not read the staff blog? The public loves us, he claims. But complaints are up 41 per cent.
They even have some of the longest queues in the country waiting to get patients out of ambulances and into hospital.
Now, whilst I am sure there are things that we can learn from them, and I am not against all change, but my concern is their model has not been implemented anywhere else in the UK.
It is a model that over-relies on volunteers in rural areas, that sends one person to serious falls. According to staff, 999 heart attacks do not get the response of an ambulance. I have repeatedly called for defibrillators in every village and public building with the local community trained in how to use them. I have always supported the community First Responders. But not at the expense of trained ambulance staff.
So the Staffordshire ambulance service configuration is one model, but not the one I want imposed in this area.
I have met our ambulance staff and I can tell you it is not a model that they want either. They work here, and less the ambulance big wigs forget, they and their families also live here.
The consultation on the future of the ambulance service is now open and will run until 17th December. You can read the consultation document yourself by going online to www.emas.nhs.uk/get-involved/being-the-best-consultation If you don’t have access to the internet but would like to read a copy please let me know on 01909 506200 and I will send you one.
You can still sign the petition against our ambulance station closures by going to my website at www.johnmannmp or contacting my office for copies that you can take round to your friends and relatives. Every signature will count.
Remember all those petitions that people were asked to sign against post office closures. Now we have Notts County Council sending me letters about local services sent by private company TNT rather than the Royal Mail. If councils don’t use the Royal Mail then post offices will cease to exist.