Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Private Ambulance Service

So a while back, I encountered a Private Ambulance Service whose staff were fantastic. In contrast to the post about that, I thought I'd describe one of the horror stories that I have about other Private Ambulance Services.

St John had been contracted to provide First Aid and 2 Ambulances at a Motocross, but about a week before it, we'd been contacted and told that our services were no longer required. They'd organised a Private Ambulance Service, who were apparently a lot better than us. It was a bit of a blow to us, but never mind.

Instead of being on duty at the Motocross, the road crew ended up doing A&E Support. And in the earlier afternoon, they were passed an Emergency at that very same Motocross. A teenage rider had caught his thumb in the sprocket of his bike, and had amputated it. The Private Ambulance Service Paramedic and other staff were dealing on scene, but they required somebody to transport the casualty to hospital...

Good start, right?

So the crew turn up at the event. The patient is ready to travel, and his thumb has been dealt with. It's in a bag, ready to be transported along with the casualty. The crew are then handed the patient report form. It was the size of an A5 piece of paper, and was lacking in all but the most basic details. The reason the Private Ambulance Service aren't transporting? Because they're not insured to do so. They've not got insurance to transport patients on the Public Highway.

Tell me you're impressed, now.

The crew transport the patient, and are met at the receiving hospital by a surgical trauma team. Who open the package containing the thumb (which was not touched by our crew at all), to find a single disposable ice pack wrapped around the thumb. Which is now entirely blue.

So, let's recap. These "Paramedics" failed to treat even a simple amputated thumb, causing a 14-year old boy to lose his thumb. His right thumb. And he was right-handed. I'd say that's pretty bad, wouldn't you?


Casey said...

That is truly shocking. I can't believe they weren't insured to transport off site, and then froze his thumb. And lets not even bother starting on the PRF-ing. What the hell was the point of them being there? Bet the boy is pleased he won't be able to write, ride his bike for a long while yet and will have to re-learn basic tasks such as dressing. Fantastic work.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to get your facts right mate, a private ambulance can be insured to convey sick or injured people on the public highway and as for sjamb there own insurance policy says that they are only insured to provide first aid not even their paramedics are insured not even to carry drugs, the department of health are aware as of about a month ago!

Nicholas Hough said...

I am very aware that Private Ambulances can be injured to convey sick people to hospital. But in that sentence, the important word is CAN. Some services are great. Some are not. If you work for one, then I sincerely hope that you work for a good one.

As for getting my facts straight about the capabilities of St John vehicles, then I would appreciate it if you could cite some reference to the fact that we're insured to only "provide first aid". Oh, and you should probably tell that to the dozens of very ill patients that we're clearly not treated then.

If you work for a Private Ambulance Service and you feel slighted by this comment, then I apologise. But the facts remain. This happened. And I have seen Private Services refuse to transport more times than I can count.

Anonymous said...

SJA do transport on public highways, for both voluntary and private ambulance services. Also supporting the NHS ambulance services recently, so yes, SJA have insurance, and can both transport patients, and in some cases SJA HCPs DO carry drugs, and use them.
I'm not able to state here if the HCPs are insured or not.
However, SJA members are insured to their trained skill level, which, as most people are aware, does go up to tech level at this time. (but tech isn't listed anymore, pity tho)

If anyone has an issue with private ambulance services, lets just say this, there are some that are great, and some not so great !