Better use of our hospital would take the strain off hard-pressed ambulance service(October 14, 2011)
THE Great Western Ambulance Service has been named as struggling for survival exactly one year after visionforwarminster.co.uk co-author Paul Macdonald met his constituency MP to talk about the future of local hospitals.
The local ambulance service are among around 20 NHS Trusts which have have been declared as 'not fit for purpose' or being an unsupportable drain on the public purse by the National Audit Office (NAO) which is the government's spending watchdog.
"I raised the issues of under-used local hospitals like Warminster and over centralisation on two hospitals twenty miles away," says Paul Macdonald.
"I talked to Andrew (Murrison MP) last October about the unfair strain that puts on the ambulance service compared with those in city centres."
Paul asked whether any study had been made into how much the 'over-centralisation and under-utilisation of local hospitals' cost compared with the extra cost of ambulances being tied up for much longer periods getting back on duty.
"My view is that our ambulance service have had to bear the brunt of a total health service cock-up and that our local hospitals have to be revived as the first port of call," states Paul.
The GWAS is the only paramedic service in the top twenty 'hit list' in a report that names another 30 that have major cash problems that will deny them the Tory-LibDem coalition opportunity of independent 'Foundation status.
"Imagine someone being rushed to Warminster hospital first by an ambulance in two minute or three minutes for all but the worst emergency care which need the air ambulance anyway,
"Then they can get back on duty so much quicker."
The demands on the ambulance crews currently see one skilled paramedic spend over 20 minutes as a 'taxi driver' to get to the nearest accident and emergency team claims Paul.
"I am not surprised that rural areas are once again being audited as struggling to meet the demands of central government," adds Paul. "Once again time for those that rule us from London to realise that what works there cannot work here.
"My fear is that instead of 'localism' that is the buzz-word of the coalitionists and the ambulance service cannot be closed the NAO recommendations that they must merge will take our ambulance service in the totally opposite direction.
"I am meeting Andrew later this month on a closely related issue - the appalling accident record on the A36 around Warminster. Once again I will add this as an issue for him to consider raising as a radical re-think of health service provision."
*See Hot topics October 19th 2010. 'As I have had the opportunity to talk to Andrew I have added another issue that I care passionately about. The future of local hospitals.'