Essex Police ‘having to cover for ambulance cuts’

First published in News by

POLICE officers took a badly bleeding man to hospital because no ambulances were available.

The incident is believed to be among several where police have ferried seriously injured patients to hospital as cuts to the ambulance service take hold.

Mark Smith, chairman of the Essex Police Federation, which represents the county’s officers, says he wants talks with paramedic chiefs urgently because police are being “used like ambulances”.

Police had to step in when a fight broke out in Whitmore Way, Basildon , at about 2.25pm on Sunday.

They found a man lying on the ground pouring with blood after suffering a gash to his head during a brawl.

Mr Smith said the officers – desperate to get help for the man – repeatedly radioed for an ambulance, but were told there were none free.

Instead, the officers put the stricken man in their patrol car and drove him to Basildon Hospital .

Mr Smith said: “When the officers arrived at the scene, my understanding is the man was bleeding a lot.

“They requested an ambulance and when one failed to attend they put in another request, only to be told the ambulance service had no one to attend.

“The officers continued to contact the ambulance service a number of times, but still no one came, so they were forced to transport the man themselves.”

Officers did the same later on the same day in Beech Road, Pitsea , after two teenage boys were hurt in a fight.

A member of the public called for help at 5.45pm, but police took the boys to hospital themselves 30 minutes later after ambulances failed to show up.

It has emerged police in Basildon were told by ambulance control on that day to “try not to contact them” because they had limited paramedic resources.

Mr Smith said: “It’s simply not acceptable and police officers are unfortunately caught between a rock and a hard place.

“If there is an incident a police officer is dealing with and someone is lying on the floor bleeding, an officer can’t just say ‘we’re waiting for an ambulance to come’, because if that person dies, they will face serious questions.”

Mr Smith said it also put police officers’ careers at risk because if a patient were to die in a police car, an investigation would be launched, with the officer usually suspended pending the outcome.

He has raised the issue with Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle and will be seeking urgent talks with the East of England Ambulance Service.

l A 48-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm in relation to the Whitmore Way attack.

He was released without charge after the injured man refused to provide police with a statement.

Comments (21)

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1:26pm Fri 31 Aug 12

dinosaur1 says...

As a member of the ambulance service I have mixed feelings about the Police Federation complaining about this. On the one hand I am pleased that they are helping to bring to attention the shortage of 999 ambulances in the area, a situation that is going to deteriorate in October when even more ambulances will be cut in the Basildon area. Any publicity that draws peoples attention to this shortage and the risks that further cuts will have on the 999 ambulance service is very welcome. On the other hand I have lost count of the number of times I have been on scene of an incident in an ambulance waiting for police an unnacceptably long time or even to be told they will not be attending at all. Part of me thinks that the Police Federation should be working at putting their own house in order before criticising the responses of other emergency services.
As a member of the ambulance service I have mixed feelings about the Police Federation complaining about this. On the one hand I am pleased that they are helping to bring to attention the shortage of 999 ambulances in the area, a situation that is going to deteriorate in October when even more ambulances will be cut in the Basildon area. Any publicity that draws peoples attention to this shortage and the risks that further cuts will have on the 999 ambulance service is very welcome. On the other hand I have lost count of the number of times I have been on scene of an incident in an ambulance waiting for police an unnacceptably long time or even to be told they will not be attending at all. Part of me thinks that the Police Federation should be working at putting their own house in order before criticising the responses of other emergency services. dinosaur1
  • Score: 13

2:00pm Fri 31 Aug 12

nicknows says...

If the Police call for an ambulance and it does not arrive even after repeat calls what chance do the general public have?
If the Police call for an ambulance and it does not arrive even after repeat calls what chance do the general public have? nicknows
  • Score: -1

2:34pm Fri 31 Aug 12

JacobSladder says...

The ambulance service is under increasing pressure to attend calls against a background of dwindling resources and ludicrous "targets". What also adds significantly to the problem is drunks, people fighting and cretins (across all age groups) who believe the ambulance service is some form of free taxi service. The ambulance service should have a mandate giving them the right to levy a charge for all cases except those involving genuine involuntary health issues. Comments welcome from all, including the drunks, fighters and cretins among you. Please discuss!
The ambulance service is under increasing pressure to attend calls against a background of dwindling resources and ludicrous "targets". What also adds significantly to the problem is drunks, people fighting and cretins (across all age groups) who believe the ambulance service is some form of free taxi service. The ambulance service should have a mandate giving them the right to levy a charge for all cases except those involving genuine involuntary health issues. Comments welcome from all, including the drunks, fighters and cretins among you. Please discuss! JacobSladder
  • Score: 10

2:34pm Fri 31 Aug 12

JacobSladder says...

The ambulance service is under increasing pressure to attend calls against a background of dwindling resources and ludicrous "targets". What also adds significantly to the problem is drunks, people fighting and cretins (across all age groups) who believe the ambulance service is some form of free taxi service. The ambulance service should have a mandate giving them the right to levy a charge for all cases except those involving genuine involuntary health issues. Comments welcome from all, including the drunks, fighters and cretins among you. Please discuss!
The ambulance service is under increasing pressure to attend calls against a background of dwindling resources and ludicrous "targets". What also adds significantly to the problem is drunks, people fighting and cretins (across all age groups) who believe the ambulance service is some form of free taxi service. The ambulance service should have a mandate giving them the right to levy a charge for all cases except those involving genuine involuntary health issues. Comments welcome from all, including the drunks, fighters and cretins among you. Please discuss! JacobSladder
  • Score: 1

2:36pm Fri 31 Aug 12

JacobSladder says...

So good a point, I made it twice!!
So good a point, I made it twice!! JacobSladder
  • Score: 4

2:48pm Fri 31 Aug 12

dinosaur1 says...

If you are worried about cuts to the ambulance service please sign this petition

http://www.change.or
g/en-GB/petitions/ea
st-of-england-ambula
nce-service-trust-st
op-the-cuts-to-the-f
ront-line-ambulances
-in-the-east-of-engl
and-2
If you are worried about cuts to the ambulance service please sign this petition http://www.change.or g/en-GB/petitions/ea st-of-england-ambula nce-service-trust-st op-the-cuts-to-the-f ront-line-ambulances -in-the-east-of-engl and-2 dinosaur1
  • Score: 4

2:49pm Fri 31 Aug 12

dinosaur1 says...

http://www.change.or
g/en-GB/petitions/ea
st-of-england-ambula
nce-service-trust-st
op-the-cuts-to-the-f
ront-line-ambulances
-in-the-east-of-engl
and-2
http://www.change.or g/en-GB/petitions/ea st-of-england-ambula nce-service-trust-st op-the-cuts-to-the-f ront-line-ambulances -in-the-east-of-engl and-2 dinosaur1
  • Score: 2

3:38pm Fri 31 Aug 12

sevenstones says...

I also work for the amblance service in the area. Both services are in a mess. I was sent to a young male with mental health issues who was apparently agressive and had been drinking but there were no police resources to send to assist. Two police cars did turn up just as I thought the situation was turning uncomfortable. I was glad they did as he then became agressive. Also this week police wanted an ambulance for a young lad who had self harmed. In the end his mum put him in her car and drove to hospital as no ambulance was available. Why didn't she do his in the first place rather that waste emaergency service time? The police knew he was in no medical danger but probably feared getting a complaint if they had suggested she take him in the first place. Ambulance and police get on well and we don't want this to change but I can only see it getting worse come October. Watch Panorama on Monday 20.30 BBC 1.
I also work for the amblance service in the area. Both services are in a mess. I was sent to a young male with mental health issues who was apparently agressive and had been drinking but there were no police resources to send to assist. Two police cars did turn up just as I thought the situation was turning uncomfortable. I was glad they did as he then became agressive. Also this week police wanted an ambulance for a young lad who had self harmed. In the end his mum put him in her car and drove to hospital as no ambulance was available. Why didn't she do his in the first place rather that waste emaergency service time? The police knew he was in no medical danger but probably feared getting a complaint if they had suggested she take him in the first place. Ambulance and police get on well and we don't want this to change but I can only see it getting worse come October. Watch Panorama on Monday 20.30 BBC 1. sevenstones
  • Score: 6

5:19pm Fri 31 Aug 12

Brunning999 says...

The party of Law and Order are in office and have done more to destroy the Police than any political party EVER!!!
The party of Law and Order are in office and have done more to destroy the Police than any political party EVER!!! Brunning999
  • Score: 1

9:54pm Fri 31 Aug 12

Almeda11 says...

dinosaur1 wrote:
As a member of the ambulance service I have mixed feelings about the Police Federation complaining about this. On the one hand I am pleased that they are helping to bring to attention the shortage of 999 ambulances in the area, a situation that is going to deteriorate in October when even more ambulances will be cut in the Basildon area. Any publicity that draws peoples attention to this shortage and the risks that further cuts will have on the 999 ambulance service is very welcome. On the other hand I have lost count of the number of times I have been on scene of an incident in an ambulance waiting for police an unnacceptably long time or even to be told they will not be attending at all. Part of me thinks that the Police Federation should be working at putting their own house in order before criticising the responses of other emergency services.
Although l totally agree 100% with your comments the VITAL difference between the police not turning up within a reasonable time or not at all, and an ambulance not turning up when someone is seriously injured is that in the latter the non arrival of an ambulance could result in death, wheras that would not be the case with a police car, and that fact should not be forgotton!!
[quote][p][bold]dinosaur1[/bold] wrote: As a member of the ambulance service I have mixed feelings about the Police Federation complaining about this. On the one hand I am pleased that they are helping to bring to attention the shortage of 999 ambulances in the area, a situation that is going to deteriorate in October when even more ambulances will be cut in the Basildon area. Any publicity that draws peoples attention to this shortage and the risks that further cuts will have on the 999 ambulance service is very welcome. On the other hand I have lost count of the number of times I have been on scene of an incident in an ambulance waiting for police an unnacceptably long time or even to be told they will not be attending at all. Part of me thinks that the Police Federation should be working at putting their own house in order before criticising the responses of other emergency services.[/p][/quote]Although l totally agree 100% with your comments the VITAL difference between the police not turning up within a reasonable time or not at all, and an ambulance not turning up when someone is seriously injured is that in the latter the non arrival of an ambulance could result in death, wheras that would not be the case with a police car, and that fact should not be forgotton!! Almeda11
  • Score: -1

12:37am Sat 1 Sep 12

emcee says...

When a home is in the process of being burgled or someone is being mugged in the street and police fail to attend, this is an absolute disgrace.
Policing in Essex is attrocious. It is not all down to finances but also the way police forces are now managed.
However, if anyone is hurt or injured in the process of being burgled or mugged and an ambulance does not turn up, this is even worse. It is shameful. The Ambulance Service in this area is in a big, big mess. Again, it is not all down to money. The management and the strategy of the ambulance service has a lot to be blamed for also.
As each day goes by I have become increasingly frightened that one day I, my wife or a member of my family will, one day, become seriously ill or have a serious accident and, because of the increasingly poor ambulance service, one of us could die because an ambulance was not available. It sounds ridiculous talking like that but that is the reality we are all begining to have to face.
When a home is in the process of being burgled or someone is being mugged in the street and police fail to attend, this is an absolute disgrace. Policing in Essex is attrocious. It is not all down to finances but also the way police forces are now managed. However, if anyone is hurt or injured in the process of being burgled or mugged and an ambulance does not turn up, this is even worse. It is shameful. The Ambulance Service in this area is in a big, big mess. Again, it is not all down to money. The management and the strategy of the ambulance service has a lot to be blamed for also. As each day goes by I have become increasingly frightened that one day I, my wife or a member of my family will, one day, become seriously ill or have a serious accident and, because of the increasingly poor ambulance service, one of us could die because an ambulance was not available. It sounds ridiculous talking like that but that is the reality we are all begining to have to face. emcee
  • Score: 4

8:28am Sat 1 Sep 12

Brunning999 says...

Almeda11 wrote:
dinosaur1 wrote:
As a member of the ambulance service I have mixed feelings about the Police Federation complaining about this. On the one hand I am pleased that they are helping to bring to attention the shortage of 999 ambulances in the area, a situation that is going to deteriorate in October when even more ambulances will be cut in the Basildon area. Any publicity that draws peoples attention to this shortage and the risks that further cuts will have on the 999 ambulance service is very welcome. On the other hand I have lost count of the number of times I have been on scene of an incident in an ambulance waiting for police an unnacceptably long time or even to be told they will not be attending at all. Part of me thinks that the Police Federation should be working at putting their own house in order before criticising the responses of other emergency services.
Although l totally agree 100% with your comments the VITAL difference between the police not turning up within a reasonable time or not at all, and an ambulance not turning up when someone is seriously injured is that in the latter the non arrival of an ambulance could result in death, wheras that would not be the case with a police car, and that fact should not be forgotton!!
You talk utter rubbish, police vehicles are the most likely unit to turn up first with a good chance of preventing a death and there is many many times this has been the case.

You are obviously not familiar with reality of emergency services in life, Police vehicle patrols are normally always in set areas, ambulances and Fire Engines might have to come great distances because ambulances and fire engines are often sent away from their set areas to cover other areas this is very common.

As for the fact that you say 'should not be forgotten re preventing a death' that is utter rubbish. I can speak of many many times Police have arrived and prevented, drownings, person bleeding to death, persons rescued from fires, crashed aircraft, scenes of shooting, stabbings, controlling mentally disturbed people involved in serious bodily injury to others, preventing suicides in fact the list is endless.

In reality the fault is the current governments gambling on public safety and they are wrong.
[quote][p][bold]Almeda11[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]dinosaur1[/bold] wrote: As a member of the ambulance service I have mixed feelings about the Police Federation complaining about this. On the one hand I am pleased that they are helping to bring to attention the shortage of 999 ambulances in the area, a situation that is going to deteriorate in October when even more ambulances will be cut in the Basildon area. Any publicity that draws peoples attention to this shortage and the risks that further cuts will have on the 999 ambulance service is very welcome. On the other hand I have lost count of the number of times I have been on scene of an incident in an ambulance waiting for police an unnacceptably long time or even to be told they will not be attending at all. Part of me thinks that the Police Federation should be working at putting their own house in order before criticising the responses of other emergency services.[/p][/quote]Although l totally agree 100% with your comments the VITAL difference between the police not turning up within a reasonable time or not at all, and an ambulance not turning up when someone is seriously injured is that in the latter the non arrival of an ambulance could result in death, wheras that would not be the case with a police car, and that fact should not be forgotton!![/p][/quote]You talk utter rubbish, police vehicles are the most likely unit to turn up first with a good chance of preventing a death and there is many many times this has been the case. You are obviously not familiar with reality of emergency services in life, Police vehicle patrols are normally always in set areas, ambulances and Fire Engines might have to come great distances because ambulances and fire engines are often sent away from their set areas to cover other areas this is very common. As for the fact that you say 'should not be forgotten re preventing a death' that is utter rubbish. I can speak of many many times Police have arrived and prevented, drownings, person bleeding to death, persons rescued from fires, crashed aircraft, scenes of shooting, stabbings, controlling mentally disturbed people involved in serious bodily injury to others, preventing suicides in fact the list is endless. In reality the fault is the current governments gambling on public safety and they are wrong. Brunning999
  • Score: 0

7:17am Sun 2 Sep 12

Brunning999 says...

I know local MPs read these comments and shake at some of the truth.
Well read this and hold your heads in shame!
Yesterday we went to a Fair on the green at Hatfield Heath.
In the road leading to Harlow adjacent to the Fair there was a road accident a person was lying in the road badly injured, there was dozens of people standing round and the crowd was growing, an ambulance was called first to arrive was 2 fire engines this was after 20 minutes, next to arrive after 25 minutes was the Police followed by a paramedic, the injured party was still in a bad way waiting for an ambulance to arrive to convey him to Harlow Hospital
The ambulance took at least 30 to 40 minutes to arrive.
The crowd was getting angry and were talking between them about how bad the service was.

MP's if you read this I hope you realize just how angry people are and those people WILL SHOW THAT AT ELECTION TIME.
I know local MPs read these comments and shake at some of the truth. Well read this and hold your heads in shame! Yesterday we went to a Fair on the green at Hatfield Heath. In the road leading to Harlow adjacent to the Fair there was a road accident a person was lying in the road badly injured, there was dozens of people standing round and the crowd was growing, an ambulance was called first to arrive was 2 fire engines this was after 20 minutes, next to arrive after 25 minutes was the Police followed by a paramedic, the injured party was still in a bad way waiting for an ambulance to arrive to convey him to Harlow Hospital The ambulance took at least 30 to 40 minutes to arrive. The crowd was getting angry and were talking between them about how bad the service was. MP's if you read this I hope you realize just how angry people are and those people WILL SHOW THAT AT ELECTION TIME. Brunning999
  • Score: 2

9:50am Sun 2 Sep 12

SpaffSpiff84 says...

It's a sad day when we cut ambulance numbers when they can't even meet demand as it is. yet we still give millions away in foreign aid and spend millions translating documents into foreign languages
It's a sad day when we cut ambulance numbers when they can't even meet demand as it is. yet we still give millions away in foreign aid and spend millions translating documents into foreign languages SpaffSpiff84
  • Score: 1

9:57am Sun 2 Sep 12

V_is_back says...

These will be those tory cuts 'not affecting frontline services'.


They cut the police, they cut ambulances, the cut the fire service, they take meals on wheels away from pensioners, they persecute and harass the sick and disabled and use them as scapegoats… yet all the time they do NOTHING about the hundreds of billions lost to tax avoidance by the super-rich.

The sooner we are rid of these out of touch multi-millionaire Bullingdon Boys the better.
These will be those tory cuts 'not affecting frontline services'. They cut the police, they cut ambulances, the cut the fire service, they take meals on wheels away from pensioners, they persecute and harass the sick and disabled and use them as scapegoats… yet all the time they do NOTHING about the hundreds of billions lost to tax avoidance by the super-rich. The sooner we are rid of these out of touch multi-millionaire Bullingdon Boys the better. V_is_back
  • Score: 2

10:38am Sun 2 Sep 12

fletch12107 says...

This is a typical case of sucking in the air through the teeth and say " its not in my remit". Any emergency that turns up and needs to save someones life should do exactly that and if that includes taking them to hospital the just do it.
This is a typical case of sucking in the air through the teeth and say " its not in my remit". Any emergency that turns up and needs to save someones life should do exactly that and if that includes taking them to hospital the just do it. fletch12107
  • Score: 0

10:42am Sun 2 Sep 12

Just my opinion!! says...

As an ambulance person I'm incredibly disappointed with the way in which the service is being portrayed!

Let's all remember that it's not the crews who are "not turning up"... It is the simple fact that the resources just don't exist and an even bigger cut is due to take place on Oct. That as crews we don't want to have to endure anymore than that general public do!!

It is natural for a crowd to become angry or impatient whilst waiting for an ambulance and as crews we do understand this... But we are just as frustrated as you!! We don't deserve the harsh words and actions that we receive when we arrive on scene... Do us all a favour and put your grumbles in writing to our Managers rather than complaining to us on scene, as at that point in time our 1st priority is the safety of the patient and the people around us... Maybe the "the powers that be" might realise the mistakes that have been made in making cuts.

As for Police attendance... The police are almost as stretched as we are but there have been several times when I have waited hours for a police escort to a patient, which makes us unavailable to attend other incidents at that time.

Its so nice to be able to say that the police officers an ambulance crews out on the road have a great relationship... Maybe it is now time our managers did the same, and sorted out everybody's grievances.

All that is left to say is... PLEASE support your local ambulance & police stations, call 999 only when needed, remember its not the "crew" who turn up that are at fault (they go from job to job), there are proper channels for complaints, please don't take it out on road staff and Be Safe!!

KRs xxx
As an ambulance person I'm incredibly disappointed with the way in which the service is being portrayed! Let's all remember that it's not the crews who are "not turning up"... It is the simple fact that the resources just don't exist and an even bigger cut is due to take place on Oct. That as crews we don't want to have to endure anymore than that general public do!! It is natural for a crowd to become angry or impatient whilst waiting for an ambulance and as crews we do understand this... But we are just as frustrated as you!! We don't deserve the harsh words and actions that we receive when we arrive on scene... Do us all a favour and put your grumbles in writing to our Managers rather than complaining to us on scene, as at that point in time our 1st priority is the safety of the patient and the people around us... Maybe the "the powers that be" might realise the mistakes that have been made in making cuts. As for Police attendance... The police are almost as stretched as we are but there have been several times when I have waited hours for a police escort to a patient, which makes us unavailable to attend other incidents at that time. Its so nice to be able to say that the police officers an ambulance crews out on the road have a great relationship... Maybe it is now time our managers did the same, and sorted out everybody's grievances. All that is left to say is... PLEASE support your local ambulance & police stations, call 999 only when needed, remember its not the "crew" who turn up that are at fault (they go from job to job), there are proper channels for complaints, please don't take it out on road staff and Be Safe!! KRs xxx Just my opinion!!
  • Score: 7

3:33pm Sun 2 Sep 12

jolllyboy says...

It is time for fines to be made in the cases where either police or ambulances are used to ferry/attend drunks or those on drugs. They clog up the resouces on a Fri, Sat, Sun and now Mondays.

Drunks bring the prob on themselves - they should pay big time.
It is time for fines to be made in the cases where either police or ambulances are used to ferry/attend drunks or those on drugs. They clog up the resouces on a Fri, Sat, Sun and now Mondays. Drunks bring the prob on themselves - they should pay big time. jolllyboy
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Sun 2 Sep 12

fletch12107 says...

If your need to attend A&E is neither and accident or an emergency then DO NOT call an ambulance and if you are you should be charged. If you are out of your head on drink or drugs and your mates or a passer by calls an ambulance then you should be charged for the visit and fined by the police for a public order offence. This type of abuse is whats causing the delays and the sooner its clamped down on the sooner we get back to having an emergency service that can cope.
If your need to attend A&E is neither and accident or an emergency then DO NOT call an ambulance and if you are you should be charged. If you are out of your head on drink or drugs and your mates or a passer by calls an ambulance then you should be charged for the visit and fined by the police for a public order offence. This type of abuse is whats causing the delays and the sooner its clamped down on the sooner we get back to having an emergency service that can cope. fletch12107
  • Score: 1

4:03pm Sun 2 Sep 12

Brunning999 says...

I do support all the emergency services and do not compare any with each other, they all do a good job but are let down by foolish politicians.
I do support all the emergency services and do not compare any with each other, they all do a good job but are let down by foolish politicians. Brunning999
  • Score: 3

9:47pm Sun 2 Sep 12

2012_Jimbob says...

Perhaps it is not for the police federation to be getting involved in such an issue. Perhaps it is. Who knows. What is abundantly clear is that despite some clever wording it is not the paramedics or technicians that the police fed are having a pop at. It is the policy makers up to the very top of government who have chosen to decimate the emergency services as a whole.

The ambulance service is full to the brim of well intentioned troops who simply cannot do their jobs any more because of the gross under resourcing. This isn't a slur on those people. Nor should it ever be. The same applies to the frontline police officers who are left holding the line when everyone else has gone to bed.

Unfortunately as with public service in general instead of just letting things break and the sh't falling down on those in the decision making seats the troops on the front line struggle to make it work and somehow always do. It is probably right that more frontline workers speak up on behalf of their organisations causes and shame their organisations into change.
Perhaps it is not for the police federation to be getting involved in such an issue. Perhaps it is. Who knows. What is abundantly clear is that despite some clever wording it is not the paramedics or technicians that the police fed are having a pop at. It is the policy makers up to the very top of government who have chosen to decimate the emergency services as a whole. The ambulance service is full to the brim of well intentioned troops who simply cannot do their jobs any more because of the gross under resourcing. This isn't a slur on those people. Nor should it ever be. The same applies to the frontline police officers who are left holding the line when everyone else has gone to bed. Unfortunately as with public service in general instead of just letting things break and the sh't falling down on those in the decision making seats the troops on the front line struggle to make it work and somehow always do. It is probably right that more frontline workers speak up on behalf of their organisations causes and shame their organisations into change. 2012_Jimbob
  • Score: 2

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