Ambulances Need Intensive Care

20 Mar 2010

Jon Smith, GMB regional officer for drivers and paramedics in Yorkshire Ambulance Services, said, “Many of the ambulances used are now noisy, uncomfortable and can be dangerous with incidents of doors falling off whilst on the road, heaters commonly failing and ill-fitting doors letting in water and road spray. Many of the chassis are worn out and unreliable with 250,000 miles being a low mileage with many in excess of this. The boxes on these vehicles have been modified a number of times to try to make them fit for purpose. As the boxes are leased for 12 years they are taken to Ireland, removed, refurbished and refitted onto new chassis. When they come back they still are noisy and uncomfortable and will very soon show their age again.”

He said, “Older ambulances are not being replaced, creating a vehicle shortage, so faulty vehicles taken out of service at one location are put back into service at other stations before the repairs are carried out. This has meant that vehicles en route to emergencies have failed and have had to have a second vehicle sent to carry out the detail thus causing a delay and potential fatal risk to the patient. This has also created a potential risk to the safety of the crew, the patient on board and the public in general.”