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Former boss bids for new ambulance investigation

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 27, 2014

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BURTON’s former 999 chief has written to health watchdogs with concerns over the ambulance service that oversees Burton.

Roger Thayne, former chief executive of Staffordshire Ambulance Service, revealed that he has written to the Care Quality Commission, Monitor and Staffordshire CCGs due to what he said were ‘serious problems’ with the service.

He decided to take the drastic action after an incident in Burton was one in six in the county that saw police officers step in to ferry injured patients to hospital as resources at the ambulance service were so stretched during a busy five-hour period.

An internal investigation has now been launched by ambulance chiefs to look into how the situation arose.

Mr Thayne, who left his role in 2006, said: “Never in my 15 years as chief executive did we need to call on the police.

“I have serious concerns about what is happening to emergency ambulance services and I think the capability is being severely reduced.”

Police stepped in six times during a five-hour stretch the night of Saturday, February 15 to help out hard-pressed paramedics throughout Staffordshire.

The incident in Burton saw brothers Christopher and Liam Bowler ferried to hospital by police and a member of the public following a violent assault in Beech Street.

The West Midlands Ambulance Service said due to an unprecedented demand of calls last Saturday night, when the attack took place, it was forced to prioritise calls which were judged to be the most serious.

A spokesman for the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “Unfortunately that Saturday evening we received an influx of 999 calls in the Staffordshire area. Between the hours of 8pm and 1am we received 50 per cent more calls than the previous Saturday evening. An extra 64 calls in that five-hour period puts extreme pressure on the 999 system.

“We try to get to all patients as quickly as possible, but unfortunately this is not always possible. As with all 999 calls, life threatening cases must take priority, and when we receive an influx of calls the less serious cases will take a little longer to get to than normal.”

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