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Farron raises concern about number of ambulances responding to 999 calls without a paramedic

July 15, 2009 12:00 AM

Concerns about the ability of Cumbrian ambulances to respond effectively to 999 calls have been raised by South Lakeland MP Tim Farron, who has highlighted the alarming number of ambulances that are reportedly being sent out without a paramedic.

Mr Farron has spoken to a number of local NHS workers including paramedics and ambulance technicians and they have revealed a shocking number of cases in which an ambulance has been sent out without a paramedic on board. In 2008, the Acute Service Review of medical services in Cumbria reported that between 10% and 30% of ambulances did not contain a paramedic.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The number of ambulances being sent out to respond to 999 calls without a paramedic on board is shocking.

"Technicians are not allowed to perform medical procedures at the scene of an incident, which is why an ambulance is supposed to have one technician and one paramedic on board at all times.

"Without a paramedic on board, if something were to go wrong during an ambulance journey, a patient could have to wait up to an hour to get to Lancaster hospital to get the treatment they need.

"This problem was flagged up during the acute services review that was conducted by Cumbria PCT 12 months ago. It's unacceptable that the situation appears not to have been remedied.

"The PCT need to put pressure on the Ambulance Service to support their excellent paramedics and technicians. Local NHS workers and patients are being let down. We must ensure that every ambulance that is sent out has at least one paramedic on board."