CHANGE THE AMBULANCE SERVICE STATUS FROM ESSENTIAL TO EMERGENCY AFTER COVID-19

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Thank You!!!

Wow! What a response to this petition which I did not expect. I am very grateful for your continued support.
 
Whilst my original explanation behind raising this support was simplified to briefly outline our current situation, I have been asked by a handful of people to provide a bit more information behind what it is exactly I envisioned to achieve with this petition and what is meant by changing our status to that of emergency from essential.
 
When the public are asked what comes to mind if you were told to picture the ‘emergency services’, the majority of us would immediately conjure the image of a Police Officer, a Fire Fighter and Ambulance staff. The difference here, however, is the way we are structured and where each of the services funding originates from. Whilst the Police and Fire Service are majoritively funded direct from central government and determine how to utilise their funds independently (for the most part), the Ambulance Service is forced to compete for its resources against all other NHS healthcare providers.
 
As it stands, funding for Ambulance Services across the UK begins with the Department for Health (total funding for 2015-16 £116.4bn) who then allocate funds to NHS England (£101.7bn 2015-16). NHS England then allocate around two thirds of their funding to Clinical Commissioning Groups (£69.5bn 2015-16). It is from these Clinical Commissioning Groups which Ambulance Services make requests for their provision. We are also highly governed by the Care Quality Commission and the Health & Care Professions Council and we are expected to maintain their standards.  
 
Whilst the CQC and the HCPC are both essential bodies created to ensure the standard of care and levels of protection offered to the public is the highest it can be, the complexity of sourcing our funding as a public service is unnecessary and differs vastly to that of our Police and Fire counterparts. In itself, this means that we are financially accountable to several issuing departments who will push and constrict us into spending as little as humanly possible. In 2017, the National Audit Office published figures provided by the NHS Ambulance Service from 2015-16. We are told that during this time, the UK Ambulance Services costs were £1.78bn. This included 6.6 million incidents resulting in face to face attendance and 10.7 million direct calls and 111 transfers to the Ambulance Service for help. This is compared to similar reports from the National Audit Office from 2015-16 where Police Forces in England and Wales were given a total budget of £12.8bn despite only receiving approx 8.5million 999 calls in 2013-14 (College of Policing – figures from 2015-16 not readily available but recorded trends saw a fall in contact from previous years).
 
I think it goes without saying that we do need to be extremely careful in how we manage the funding we are allocated. This being so that the tax payer not only receives the very best of care but that they also receive value for money. However, the caring and passionate nature of the staff that choose to work in this field has for too long been exploited by people who do not value our service. We cannot continue to care for others as well as we would like to when our equipment is not up to the standard it needs to be. We cannot continue to work our own full time contracts but then work on to subsidise for the shortfall of staff we so desperately need. We cannot fulfil our expected targets when vehicles are continuously forced off the road due to defects associated with continual use. We should not be expected to work a further 8 years than our Police and Fire counterparts only to receive a significantly inferior pension in such a physically demanding role. We cannot keep our patients safe during a Pandemic if the first clinician they are sent is delayed due to not having been provided with sufficient quantities of personal protective equipment.
 
Whether our line of funding is completely overhauled and placed in the hands of the Home Office or it maintains the status quo, I think it’s fair to say that the discrepancies between services needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. In legislation, we are indirectly referenced as ‘Emergency Workers’ and as such afforded some protection against obstruction and/or assault; but with our core structure being so vastly different to that of our colleagues in blue and red, our service quickly falls down on the list of importance. This reflects clearly in our capability to perform the tasks required of us. I fully realise that funding is an issue across the board but when a radical change is needed just to bring us up to par with our fellow Emergency Services, we need to look at reshuffling our priorities.
 
Whilst I have you, I would just like to say that the NHS is a British national treasure and makes us the envy of the world. Its existence has played a part in the lives of most and is not something that we can afford to lose. Use it responsibly and it will be able to continue to serve the many generations yet to come.
 
I wish you all the best of health and happiness. A massive thank you to ALL key workers who have continued working to ensure we keep moving forward.
 
All the best and stay safe x
 
References
 
https://www.college.police.uk/News/College-news/Documents/Demand%20Report%2023_1_15_noBleed.pdf
 
https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Financial-sustainability-of-police-forces.pdf
 
https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/NHS-Ambulance-Services.pdf
 
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/datablog/2016/feb/10/how-does-money-flow-through-health-service-england-nhs
 
https://www.nhscc.org/ccgs/
 
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/23/section/3/enacted
 
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/39/section/1
 
 
 
 
 

Simone Waudby
1 year ago