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Police forced to make up for ambulance shortage, leaked incident logs show 

According to recently leaked incident logs, police officers are being seconded to do the work of overstretched ambulance staff.

The head of the NHS watchdog has labelled the situation as “out of control” and there is a growing concern that the police are being stretched beyond the limit.

Steve White, vice-chairmen of the Police Federation commented: “Police cannot and should not be expected to plug the gaps cuts have left across other areas of the public sector.”

The log makes note of numerous reports where the police were the first to arrive at the scene were an ambulance would have been more suited.

One incident in the North-east of England reported: “Ambulance control requested police attend a report of a 14-year-old girl having taken an overdose. On police arrival an ambulance failed to attend and the response was downgraded as there was no ambulance available. The injured person had to be taken to hospital by police and the ambulance cancelled. The child was 14 years old and there was no requirement for police in this circumstance.”

An officer in the south-east gave an account of another incident: “Female was very ill and the first car on the scene decided to take her to hospital. The control room said no ambulance was nearby. The officer took the female to hospital where she collapsed and died. The inspector reported the officer in respect of misconduct for breaching a direct order.”

According to the log, some officers have faced inquiries or investigations after their passenger died.

The report also makes a note of a report in April of this year: “Good Friday weekend we were told there is a seven-hour waiting time for an ambulance so don’t call one as you won’t get one.”

Andy Burnham, shadow health secretary, blamed the cause of the shortage of ambulances on the fact that they have to wait to release the patients into an A&E department that is typically already full.

Senior doctors have compared A&E units to “war zones” and figures show that the number of patients forced to wait over two hours for treatment has risen by two-thirds in the last year.

Others have indicated that the causes of the ambulance shortage are a result of nursing cuts and the scrapping of the NHS direct advice line.

 

Sources

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/police-cars-taking-patients-hospital-2472439

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2468612/Patient-died-police-car-taking-hospital-shortage-ambulances.html

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/19/police-cars-act-ambulances-ae-overflows

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