'Overworked paramedics are putting lives at risk', claims whistleblower

'Overworked paramedics are putting lives at risk', claims whistleblower

'Overworked paramedics are putting lives at risk', claims whistleblower

First published in News
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

OVERWORKED paramedics are having to attend emergencies without checking their ambulances are road-safe and correctly stocked, a furious paramedic has revealed.

An experienced paramedic has claimed staff at the North West Ambulance Service are being forced to put lives at risk by not being given time to check that vehicles are carrying the right stock before attending an emergency, a claim that the service has strongly denied.

The Bolton-based whistleblower, who asked not to be named for fear of repercussions, also claimed paramedics are being made to go for eight hours without any meal breaks because of a lack of staff and increasing numbers of calls.

He said: “Two nights on shift we have been sent out without being allowed time to check our vehicle has the right equipment in or that the ambulance is even road-safe.

"We just get given the keys from a previous crew and get sent out immediately — if we are picking up an unmanned vehicle, then we get 10 minutes.

"If it has been manned then we don’t get any time to check it at all.”

“One night we were so busy we ran the ambulance until it was literally out of fuel — we haven’t got enough staff and if we are further reduced then I can’t see how a lot of people won’t die.”

Ambulance bosses said checks were separated into categories red, amber and green and that all crews should perform a red check at the start of their shift, which includes checks of medical equipment, drug supplies and basic vehicle checks, including wheel pointer alignments.

A spokesman added: “It is estimated a red check should take no more than 10 minutes.

“If the vehicle has been operational on the previous shift and is allocated an emergency at the time of handover, we would expect crews to perform the check as soon as is practicably possible, for example, after handing over their first patient into the care of the hospital.”

In response to the claims about meal breaks, the service said: “All attempts are made to dine crews within a three to six-hour window of their shift start.

“If this is not possible due to the high number of life-threatening calls, then a vehicle is removed from operational service after six hours to ensure the crew is adequately rested.”

But unions said budget cuts meant staff were being pushed to do more and more.

Craig Wilde, Unison branch secretary for the North West Ambulance Service said: “They may not say it is recurrent, but we think this funding has got to carry on.

"We simply cannot afford to reduce our current service so we are calling for the funding to continue.”

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:44am Thu 24 Jul 14

Gore Seer says...

Lazy Paramedics,
Lazy Paramedics, Gore Seer
  • Score: -35

1:51pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Cathryn C says...

I hope that if you ever have a stroke or heart attack, Gore Seer, that the paramedics on the eight-minute callout to you decide to spend the first ten minutes checking that they have everything before they set out. How dare you call Paramedics lazy? They spend their working lives trying to help others, not sitting trolling about a mystical being called God on the internet. You're a disgrace to your religious beliefs.
I hope that if you ever have a stroke or heart attack, Gore Seer, that the paramedics on the eight-minute callout to you decide to spend the first ten minutes checking that they have everything before they set out. How dare you call Paramedics lazy? They spend their working lives trying to help others, not sitting trolling about a mystical being called God on the internet. You're a disgrace to your religious beliefs. Cathryn C
  • Score: 19

5:27pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Gore Seer says...

Cathryn C wrote:
I hope that if you ever have a stroke or heart attack, Gore Seer, that the paramedics on the eight-minute callout to you decide to spend the first ten minutes checking that they have everything before they set out. How dare you call Paramedics lazy? They spend their working lives trying to help others, not sitting trolling about a mystical being called God on the internet. You're a disgrace to your religious beliefs.
I Just Repeat What Westminster Claims English Lazy Don't Want To Work Friend If Its Pointed At Me Then The Paramedics Can Have A Bit Of The Lazy, And I Will Use Taxi Were Ever possible.
[quote][p][bold]Cathryn C[/bold] wrote: I hope that if you ever have a stroke or heart attack, Gore Seer, that the paramedics on the eight-minute callout to you decide to spend the first ten minutes checking that they have everything before they set out. How dare you call Paramedics lazy? They spend their working lives trying to help others, not sitting trolling about a mystical being called God on the internet. You're a disgrace to your religious beliefs.[/p][/quote]I Just Repeat What Westminster Claims English Lazy Don't Want To Work Friend If Its Pointed At Me Then The Paramedics Can Have A Bit Of The Lazy, And I Will Use Taxi Were Ever possible. Gore Seer
  • Score: -6

10:48pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Bolton paramedic says...

Gore Seer, when did you ever believe what a government tells you ? , I can tell you first hand ambulance staff all over the country are stretched to the limit, and the service is near breaking point because of underfunding from this Government. There is not enough resources for the number of people calling 999. This number is already up 10% on last year. Checking vehicles at the start of a shift is not something we would like to do, it's something we have to do by law as a driver I have a legal obligation to ensure my ambulance is roadworthy, this is extra important bearing in mind the high speed we sometimes travel at. Remember twice in the last three and a half years wheels have fallen off ambulances in Bolton , both times people could have been seriously injured if not killed as a result of not being able to check the vehicle is roadworthy.As a paramedic I have a duty to the health professions council and my registration to ensure I have the correct equipment to fulfil my role as a paramedic.
Lastly I find your comment of "lazy paramedics" distasteful a best , you obviously have no understanding of what our role involves, I would love for you to spend 1 shift with us and I guarantee you would change your mind. Unfortunately you may be too busy watching Jeremy Kyle.
Gore Seer, when did you ever believe what a government tells you ? , I can tell you first hand ambulance staff all over the country are stretched to the limit, and the service is near breaking point because of underfunding from this Government. There is not enough resources for the number of people calling 999. This number is already up 10% on last year. Checking vehicles at the start of a shift is not something we would like to do, it's something we have to do by law as a driver I have a legal obligation to ensure my ambulance is roadworthy, this is extra important bearing in mind the high speed we sometimes travel at. Remember twice in the last three and a half years wheels have fallen off ambulances in Bolton , both times people could have been seriously injured if not killed as a result of not being able to check the vehicle is roadworthy.As a paramedic I have a duty to the health professions council and my registration to ensure I have the correct equipment to fulfil my role as a paramedic. Lastly I find your comment of "lazy paramedics" distasteful a best , you obviously have no understanding of what our role involves, I would love for you to spend 1 shift with us and I guarantee you would change your mind. Unfortunately you may be too busy watching Jeremy Kyle. Bolton paramedic
  • Score: 5

11:50pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Blackrod says...

In the meantime the fire service go on strike over money...
In the meantime the fire service go on strike over money... Blackrod
  • Score: -3

12:17am Fri 25 Jul 14

wsw69 says...

Gore Seer wrote:
Lazy Paramedics,
You absolute GRADE A Pr1ck of the first order!
[quote][p][bold]Gore Seer[/bold] wrote: Lazy Paramedics,[/p][/quote]You absolute GRADE A Pr1ck of the first order! wsw69
  • Score: 8

8:39am Fri 25 Jul 14

Gore Seer says...

wsw69 wrote:
Gore Seer wrote:
Lazy Paramedics,
You absolute GRADE A Pr1ck of the first order!
Hi So You Know Thanks.
[quote][p][bold]wsw69[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gore Seer[/bold] wrote: Lazy Paramedics,[/p][/quote]You absolute GRADE A Pr1ck of the first order![/p][/quote]Hi So You Know Thanks. Gore Seer
  • Score: 2

5:37pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Gore Seer says...

Bolton paramedic wrote:
Gore Seer, when did you ever believe what a government tells you ? , I can tell you first hand ambulance staff all over the country are stretched to the limit, and the service is near breaking point because of underfunding from this Government. There is not enough resources for the number of people calling 999. This number is already up 10% on last year. Checking vehicles at the start of a shift is not something we would like to do, it's something we have to do by law as a driver I have a legal obligation to ensure my ambulance is roadworthy, this is extra important bearing in mind the high speed we sometimes travel at. Remember twice in the last three and a half years wheels have fallen off ambulances in Bolton , both times people could have been seriously injured if not killed as a result of not being able to check the vehicle is roadworthy.As a paramedic I have a duty to the health professions council and my registration to ensure I have the correct equipment to fulfil my role as a paramedic.
Lastly I find your comment of "lazy paramedics" distasteful a best , you obviously have no understanding of what our role involves, I would love for you to spend 1 shift with us and I guarantee you would change your mind. Unfortunately you may be too busy watching Jeremy Kyle.
I Have Personally Witness The Ambulance system working Throwing Money At A Poor Service Does Not Make It Better, I Only Comment On What I Witness, I Do Not Lie, The NHS Is In Melt Down If Ambulance Crews Have To Pull There Finger Out Then Get Going Or Get Out.
[quote][p][bold]Bolton paramedic[/bold] wrote: Gore Seer, when did you ever believe what a government tells you ? , I can tell you first hand ambulance staff all over the country are stretched to the limit, and the service is near breaking point because of underfunding from this Government. There is not enough resources for the number of people calling 999. This number is already up 10% on last year. Checking vehicles at the start of a shift is not something we would like to do, it's something we have to do by law as a driver I have a legal obligation to ensure my ambulance is roadworthy, this is extra important bearing in mind the high speed we sometimes travel at. Remember twice in the last three and a half years wheels have fallen off ambulances in Bolton , both times people could have been seriously injured if not killed as a result of not being able to check the vehicle is roadworthy.As a paramedic I have a duty to the health professions council and my registration to ensure I have the correct equipment to fulfil my role as a paramedic. Lastly I find your comment of "lazy paramedics" distasteful a best , you obviously have no understanding of what our role involves, I would love for you to spend 1 shift with us and I guarantee you would change your mind. Unfortunately you may be too busy watching Jeremy Kyle.[/p][/quote]I Have Personally Witness The Ambulance system working Throwing Money At A Poor Service Does Not Make It Better, I Only Comment On What I Witness, I Do Not Lie, The NHS Is In Melt Down If Ambulance Crews Have To Pull There Finger Out Then Get Going Or Get Out. Gore Seer
  • Score: 0

6:47pm Fri 25 Jul 14

Bolton paramedic says...

Gore seer,
You say you've witnessed is first hand I wonder in what sense ? Tv perhaps or the government telling you !! If you had then you would see a workforce with similar number of staff as 1994 trying to keep afloat a crippled service where demand is too high for the number of vehicles and staff. It's not about pulling fingers out there are no more to pull out how can people work harder than the full shift apart from allotted breaks which In a 12 hour shift number a half hour meal break and a 20 min rest break most crews are running 7 hours before a break , this is neither legal nor fair. I've a feeling you just like winding things up with nothing serious to say and what you do say has no understanding or comprehension of either the facts or how things work.
Have you forgotten we deal with death, birth , major trauma, minor trauma, major and minor illness, mental health, alcohol problems drug problems domestic problems assaults to name a few we the best at this nobody's better . We have to be drs, midwives, social workers marriage guidance and 99 % of the public appreciate the sometimes thankless job we do. Idiots like you obviously don't. I hope you'll need an ambulance in the near future.
Gore seer, You say you've witnessed is first hand I wonder in what sense ? Tv perhaps or the government telling you !! If you had then you would see a workforce with similar number of staff as 1994 trying to keep afloat a crippled service where demand is too high for the number of vehicles and staff. It's not about pulling fingers out there are no more to pull out how can people work harder than the full shift apart from allotted breaks which In a 12 hour shift number a half hour meal break and a 20 min rest break most crews are running 7 hours before a break , this is neither legal nor fair. I've a feeling you just like winding things up with nothing serious to say and what you do say has no understanding or comprehension of either the facts or how things work. Have you forgotten we deal with death, birth , major trauma, minor trauma, major and minor illness, mental health, alcohol problems drug problems domestic problems assaults to name a few we the best at this nobody's better . We have to be drs, midwives, social workers marriage guidance and 99 % of the public appreciate the sometimes thankless job we do. Idiots like you obviously don't. I hope you'll need an ambulance in the near future. Bolton paramedic
  • Score: 2

9:09pm Fri 25 Jul 14

wsw69 says...

Gore Seer wrote:
Bolton paramedic wrote:
Gore Seer, when did you ever believe what a government tells you ? , I can tell you first hand ambulance staff all over the country are stretched to the limit, and the service is near breaking point because of underfunding from this Government. There is not enough resources for the number of people calling 999. This number is already up 10% on last year. Checking vehicles at the start of a shift is not something we would like to do, it's something we have to do by law as a driver I have a legal obligation to ensure my ambulance is roadworthy, this is extra important bearing in mind the high speed we sometimes travel at. Remember twice in the last three and a half years wheels have fallen off ambulances in Bolton , both times people could have been seriously injured if not killed as a result of not being able to check the vehicle is roadworthy.As a paramedic I have a duty to the health professions council and my registration to ensure I have the correct equipment to fulfil my role as a paramedic.
Lastly I find your comment of "lazy paramedics" distasteful a best , you obviously have no understanding of what our role involves, I would love for you to spend 1 shift with us and I guarantee you would change your mind. Unfortunately you may be too busy watching Jeremy Kyle.
I Have Personally Witness The Ambulance system working Throwing Money At A Poor Service Does Not Make It Better, I Only Comment On What I Witness, I Do Not Lie, The NHS Is In Melt Down If Ambulance Crews Have To Pull There Finger Out Then Get Going Or Get Out.
You have absolutely no idea, not one iota of an idea. You really are a total and utter tool. I just can't be ar5ed writing anything else on the subject where you are in the loop.
[quote][p][bold]Gore Seer[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Bolton paramedic[/bold] wrote: Gore Seer, when did you ever believe what a government tells you ? , I can tell you first hand ambulance staff all over the country are stretched to the limit, and the service is near breaking point because of underfunding from this Government. There is not enough resources for the number of people calling 999. This number is already up 10% on last year. Checking vehicles at the start of a shift is not something we would like to do, it's something we have to do by law as a driver I have a legal obligation to ensure my ambulance is roadworthy, this is extra important bearing in mind the high speed we sometimes travel at. Remember twice in the last three and a half years wheels have fallen off ambulances in Bolton , both times people could have been seriously injured if not killed as a result of not being able to check the vehicle is roadworthy.As a paramedic I have a duty to the health professions council and my registration to ensure I have the correct equipment to fulfil my role as a paramedic. Lastly I find your comment of "lazy paramedics" distasteful a best , you obviously have no understanding of what our role involves, I would love for you to spend 1 shift with us and I guarantee you would change your mind. Unfortunately you may be too busy watching Jeremy Kyle.[/p][/quote]I Have Personally Witness The Ambulance system working Throwing Money At A Poor Service Does Not Make It Better, I Only Comment On What I Witness, I Do Not Lie, The NHS Is In Melt Down If Ambulance Crews Have To Pull There Finger Out Then Get Going Or Get Out.[/p][/quote]You have absolutely no idea, not one iota of an idea. You really are a total and utter tool. I just can't be ar5ed writing anything else on the subject where you are in the loop. wsw69
  • Score: 11

12:02am Sat 26 Jul 14

Soontoretire says...

I'll just ignore the lazy paramedics post due to the fact that it has been written by a) a manager b) someone who has no idea of the amount of work that paramedics do c) someone who couldn't make the grade to become one !

Both the Accident and Emergency departments and the Ambulance services around the country are being stretched to capacity because ambulances and A+E's are being used for absolutely any ailment.
Cut fingers, toothache, cough and cold, stomach ache for 15 minutes... you name it we go for it.
Ambulances and A and E's are for life threatening conditions yet the waiting room at Bolton is full most nights.. If you can sit and wait for 4 hrs it's hardly a life threatening condition.... Go see your Doctor !
Don't follow an Ambulance down to A+E in your car when your able bodied relative with a petty complaint rides in the back of an Ambulance ... Leave Ambulances free for a REAL Emergency if you can.
Don't wait until 4 o'clock on some random Tuesday morning to ring an Ambulance for a back ache you've had for 6 weeks !
Don't expect to be diagnosed over a phone... The work load from 111 has gone through the roof all adding to the pressures !
My answer would be to scrap 111 and also to make the waiting rooms much smaller.
I also believe that ambulances should be paid for if the call is deemed to be inappropriate !

I can confirm that we regularly attend emergencies without checking our vehicles and I can also confirm that we do this as soon as is practical .... usually after the first patient.... Want to be the first patient anyone ???
I'll just ignore the lazy paramedics post due to the fact that it has been written by a) a manager b) someone who has no idea of the amount of work that paramedics do c) someone who couldn't make the grade to become one ! Both the Accident and Emergency departments and the Ambulance services around the country are being stretched to capacity because ambulances and A+E's are being used for absolutely any ailment. Cut fingers, toothache, cough and cold, stomach ache for 15 minutes... you name it we go for it. Ambulances and A and E's are for life threatening conditions yet the waiting room at Bolton is full most nights.. If you can sit and wait for 4 hrs it's hardly a life threatening condition.... Go see your Doctor ! Don't follow an Ambulance down to A+E in your car when your able bodied relative with a petty complaint rides in the back of an Ambulance ... Leave Ambulances free for a REAL Emergency if you can. Don't wait until 4 o'clock on some random Tuesday morning to ring an Ambulance for a back ache you've had for 6 weeks ! Don't expect to be diagnosed over a phone... The work load from 111 has gone through the roof all adding to the pressures ! My answer would be to scrap 111 and also to make the waiting rooms much smaller. I also believe that ambulances should be paid for if the call is deemed to be inappropriate ! I can confirm that we regularly attend emergencies without checking our vehicles and I can also confirm that we do this as soon as is practical .... usually after the first patient.... Want to be the first patient anyone ??? Soontoretire
  • Score: 3

10:15pm Sat 26 Jul 14

Soontoretire says...

Dined today 7 hrs in to shift ... As did most of the crews !!
Dined today 7 hrs in to shift ... As did most of the crews !! Soontoretire
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree