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North West ambulance staff under too much pressure claim union
THE ambulance service is at ‘breaking point’ and paramedics do not have time to carry out essential vehicle safety checks, according to union bosses.
The warning comes after an ambulance wheel came off when it was taking a pensioner to the Royal Bolton Hospital.
Bosses from the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) say it is the responsibility of the crews to make sure all of the safety checks are carried out, but unions have said that staff are too busy responding to patients.
Steve Rice branch secretary for the GMB union for the ambulance service said: “The crews don’t get an awful lot of time to check the ambulances. Most of the time they’ll come on and find there’s a call waiting for them.
“The driver should be able to do checks, but to do that is practically impossible.
“A full vehicle check takes half an hour if not more. If a call comes through, what do you do? Do you go to the baby who’s collapsed or do you check your tyre pressure?”
A spokesman for NWAS said: “A thorough investigation into the causes of this incident is continuing and the causes have yet to be established.
“All ambulance crews are expected to perform checks on their vehicles and these are separated into categories red, amber and green.”
They said a red check should take no more than 10 minutes and include all equipment and drugs and a basic vehicle check “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,” said the spokesman.
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