Short-staffed ambulance service considering asking volunteers to drive its vehicles amid staffing crisis

UK News

A SHORT-staffed ambulance service is considering asking volunteers to drive its vehicles.

East of England says the public could join qualified medics on some calls.

 East of England ambulance service is considering asking volunteers to drive its vehicles

PA:Press Association

East of England ambulance service is considering asking volunteers to drive its vehicles

Bosses may also draft in the military and other emergency services.

But a senior paramedic at the Trust said they were “absolutely horrified” by the move, leaked in emails.

The service has some of England’s worst response times.

Chiefs are looking at using community first responders for less serious incidents.

 The East of England service has some of England’s worst response times

Alamy

The East of England service has some of England’s worst response times

These are members of the public who receive five days training to give basic support before paramedics can arrive.

But the senior paramedic told the Health Service Journal: “What happens if the patient suddenly deteriorates and needs to be blue lighted to hospital?

“As a paramedic you want to be working with someone who knows what they are doing.”

An email to staff from bosses this week asked for feedback.

 Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth labelled the move 'astonishing'
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth labelled the move ‘astonishing’

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “It’s astonishing.”

The trust described the proposals as very early discussions, adding: “It is imperative the trust consider every alternative to maximise existing and alternative resources.”

Separately, it plans to employ 330 extra staff and 160 additional ambulances.

It was revealed in 2016 that the trust was forking out nearly £500,000 in lease payments for Jaguar and BMWs for its execs.

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