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Will ambulance cuts put “lives at risk”?

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A trade union has warned that the North West’s plan to cut ambulance services could put “lives at risk”. The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) aims to save millions of pounds a year by cutting the number of vehicles on the road. They aim to achieve this by withdrawing many of the vehicles operating a night, in a bid to save them a total of £14m a year. The NWAS said that vehicles would still be available for emergencies, but in non-life threatening situations, patients would be “pointed in the right direction”.

Unison argued against this change, judging that by cutting vehicles they are not “putting patients first”. Paul Foley, from Unison, said that by withdrawing vehicles, response times to emergencies would reduce, posing a greater risk to patients in-need. He believed that by “delaying the service”, “lives [are being put] at risk”.

“Stuck in this position”

It was highlighted that not only nighttime ambulance services would be affected, but also many daytime services would see cuts. These include Ellesmere Port, Formby, Blackburn, Burscough, Warrington, Leyland, Nelson and Accrington.

Director of operations at NWAS, Derek Cartwright, said that the decision is not an easy one to make, but that they have “got to the point where [they] are stuck in this position”. Ambulance stations have already been sold, paramedics have been moved to fire stations, and management posts have been taken down. 

Mr Cartwright said that around 20% of 999 patients do not actually require hospital treatment, so this new system will direct them “to the right place”.

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