Dealing with alcohol – how the ambulance service picks up the pieces…

We get the inside track from a serving paramedic… Given that we are now over the festive season but still very much in the grip of the annual winter pressures it was interesting to read the article by the Chief Executive of NHS England regarding drunk tanks (officially Alcohol Intoxication Management Services, Safe Havens or Alcohol Treatment Centres), as well as the associated social media reaction. Winter is traditionally a time when we see an increase in ambulance call-outs and hospital admissions … Read more

Not enough time to clean. The ambulance services dirty little secret…

It seems such a shame that after the much-anticipated launch of Northern Ireland’s new Air Ambulance this month the service should find itself the subject of yet another negative article in the Irish News, this time regarding the condition of our road ambulances and stations. The article reports on how a surprise visit by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) exposed a number of hygiene breaches in the two ambulance stations inspected, and more importantly in our ambulances. This … Read more

An insider’s view of the latest problems with the Belfast Ambulance service

With the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) in the news once again, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some insight into the ongoing internal problems within the service. This time the spotlight has been shone on staffing shortages after it was revealed that 25 shifts lay vacant last Saturday night, the equivalent of 12 ambulances unavailable to respond to emergencies. Given that there are usually around 55 ambulances to cover the whole country this represents a significant reduction … Read more

Clowns to the left of them, jokers to the right. Paramedics stuck in the middle with you…

We get the inside track from a paramedic about the ambulance strike… I was glad to have the opportunity on Friday to re-post my article from last November where I described some of the difficulties currently faced by Paramedics in Northern Ireland. I felt it important to provide some context of the proposed Ambulance Service strike on Friday as the verbal jousting between NIAS managers and union spokespeople that day left me bemused to say the least. After NIAS cynically broke the strike … Read more