GMB Calls On Ambulance Service To Admit Number Of Computer System Failures During Emergency Callouts
Critical incidents with South East Coast Ambulance Service’s system appear far more commonplace than reported says GMB.
GMB, the union for ambulance workers, has called on South East Coast Ambulance service (SECAmb) to publish failure figures for its Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system after seeing figures that show over 50% of emergency responses were late over a four day period earlier in the month.
Reports seen by GMB show that the number of late Red 1 & 2 calls – calls which are deemed potentially life threatening – ran anywhere between 50% and 66% over one four day period in early July. A spokesperson from SECAmb said “We do recognise that system issues can cause frustration for staff but these matters are subject to review by a project group which is looking to further improve the performance of the CAD.”
Gary Palmer, GMB regional organiser, said “Critical incidents with South East Coast Ambulance Service’s system appear far more commonplace than reported. SECAmb’s own system reports show serious issues that have gone unresolved for months including high priority ones such as CAD sessions closing down whilst in use throwing the whole aim to reach a red call patient within 8 mins in doubt.
With over half of responses to Red 1 and 2 calls missing key targets on a regular basis, executives and senior management can hardly describe the impact as minimal. To do so, considering that these late responses almost certainly involve patients suffering cardiac or respiratory arrest, is disgraceful and utterly irresponsible.
GMB members have told us that they feel SECAmb executives are still more concerned with the trust’s public image and reputation than the public safety of patients and the realities of resolving the daily issues and failings that staff are fully aware of, but that management are desperate to ignore.
Lessons must be learned. Acting chief exec Geraint Davies is now in the seat of responsibility for this and other serious issues and it is vital he do more than follow the previous chief execs line of misdirection and denial of major issues within the trust while making excuses for poor management.
GMB members tell us daily that patients and staff really do deserve better. With only a warning from the CQC, instead of an order to place the trust in special measures that would allow the involvement of a successful ambulance trust management team, nothing will change and ultimately that might just cause a patient and family to pay the ultimate price.
Let’s hope this matter is resolved before that happens.”
Gary Palmer GMB Organiser 07552165950, or Charles Harrity, GMB Senior Organiser on 07977518042 or GMB press office 07970863411