Suffolk: 999 crews could be paralysed by major incident warns Unison

A MAJOR incident could leave the ambulance service so stretched paramedics would be unable to meet demand.

That was the warning today from concerned union members who fear changes in policy have left the trust operating at minimum capacity – and incapable of dealing with a serious event.

Unison representatives say unexpected emergencies not accounted for in trust predictions, based on recent research into demand levels, could paralyse the service.

The East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) said its new plans, revealed earlier this month, will improve services for patients.

But Tim Roberts, Unison representative for Suffolk, told The Star he fears the trust is already failing to meet demand.

“There is no spare capacity,” he said. “Anything slightly off what’s normal for a Wednesday, for example, like a major crash on the A14, will leave them with no resources.

“They are basically working at minimum capacity, there is no give.

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“It is very concerning.”

An ambulance service spokeswoman said staff have undertaken months of analysis to pinpoint when demand is highest and which standby points are best for vehicles to get most patients in the shortest amount of time.

Staff consultations on the plans are currently under way.

Mr Roberts added: “They (EEAST management) have shot themselves in the foot, introducing these measures before they can see whether the figures are right and what is actually happening.”

An ambulance service spokeswoman said: “Major incident plans will continue with our hazardous area response teams and managers on hand to respond to large incidents and flexibility is being built in to the current analysis as it always has been.

“We have always carried out demand profiling but previous systems on which we’ve based rotas have not been nearly as intelligent as the one we are now using.”

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