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    Aviewoneverything wrote:
    The more overriding question should be 'were the "emergencies" these ambulances responding to actually emergencies.
    Historically when a 999 call was received the call taker would ask the location the ambulance was needed and then ask what the principle reason for calling 999 was, i.e chest pains etc. Only after this information was received would the ambulance be dispatched on blue lights. If the call taker received a call that did not warrant blue lights, an ambulance was still sent at the same time but in non emergency conditions. This meant less risk to the crews and less risk to the public. However, a few years ago under the previous labour administration, in a bid to standardise reporting of targets across the UK's ambulance Trusts, a system called 'call connect' was implemented. Call Connect required the ambulance dispatchers to send the ambulance, as an emergency (blue lights), as soon as the address was received, regardless of the nature of the call. Only following minutes of questioning is the true nature of the call understood and the call downgraded to a non-emergency call where applicable. In densely populated areas this usually means the call is not fully assessed before an ambulance arrives on scene. This in turn puts the crews and the public at greater risk due to the increased number of calls being responded to on 'blue lights'.
    The labour government believed that the time saved in immediately dispatching the ambulance compared with getting the basic details of the call first, would not only standardise target reporting across all the UK ambulance Trusts but would also give a better level of care for the patient. In the time frame of a 999 call cycle we are talking about a saving of approximately 30s, which in life threatening conditions is very important. However, the modern ambulance service deals with less and less life threatening conditions, and more common illness conditions such as diarrhea and vomiting bugs, social and mental health issues etc. All these calls are responded to, initially, as an emergency (blue lights) until the call is fully assessed.
    This system is no fault of any individual staff group or Trust as a whole, but it is a poor government policy implemented with targets, not patients, in mind.
    Health unions have been campaigning endlessly to have this issue addressed, but the requests fall on deaf ears at the DoH.
    Until such time as the 'call connect' system is dropped, and call takers are allowed to judge the severity of the call before sending an ambulance out under emergency conditions, we will continue to see more and more flashy yellow vans whizzing about, and regrettably under the law of averages, there are likely to be further accidents.
    Whilst part of your story is factually correct, the element referring to the amount of time between determining the difference between a life risk emergency or not does not take minutes and therefore you are misleading the readers. If the dispatcher is getting a 'good' response to their questions then it takes seconds. The fact of the matter is it is better to go 'red' first and then downgrade the response. The standards of driving commanded by all emergency services nowadays is much higher than ever due to the volume and speed of traffic and of course the general driver behaviour which I am sure we can all agree has deteriorated over time for various reasons. Nobody other than those that were there or the investigators know what happened at any of these incidents so therefore it is remiss of this newspaper to scaremonger and the armchair detectives to get on their high horse. I have an immense regard for all of our emergency service personnel who are out there responding to us and our families in times of deep distress."
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Drivers defended after three ambulance crashes in one week

Bournemouth Echo: An ambulance crashes through a garden fence on Longmeadow Road Creekmoor on Friday evening An ambulance crashes through a garden fence on Longmeadow Road Creekmoor on Friday evening

HEALTH chiefs have defended their skilled drivers following three ambulance crashes during a week.

Two crashes involved South Western Ambulance Service NHS ambulances, while the third was from the NHS South Central Ambulance Service.

No one was injured in either of the South Western ambulance incidents, but a man in his early 20s sustained leg and pelvic injuries during the accident involving the South Central ambulance in the New Forest. However, no patients were on board at the time and neither of the paramedics were injured.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) confirmed a car was in collision with an ambulance at 4.42pm, January 19, at Old Christchurch Road, Everton.

A SCAS spokesman said: “The ambulance was en route to an emergency call at the time of the incident.

“SCAS sent further resources to the incident to treat the casualties.

“One patient, a male in his 20s, was treated at the scene and taken to Southampton General Hospital.

“One patient sustained minor injuries and did not require any hospital treatment.

“An investigation is currently ongoing into the circumstances of the incident, so we cannot comment further.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service said their skilled drivers had been dealing with the same icy conditions that have gripped the nation in recent weeks.

This spokesman added: “The Trust’s primary concern is the safety of both patients and staff.

Thankfully, no one was injured as a result of these two incidents and there were no adverse outcomes for patients.

“The recent adverse weather conditions have resulted in very challenging driving conditions across the south west for all road users.”

Last Friday evening an ambulance left the road in Longmeadow Lane, Creekmoor, Poole, and crashed into a garden fence. No one was injured.

One week earlier, an ambulance was in collision with a Renault Clio car near the Shah of Persia pub, Longfleet Road, Poole, close to Poole Hospital.

Once again, no one was injured.

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