Concerns Over Scilly Ambulance Provision

Councillors have questioned ambulance cover in our area following plans to merge two Ambulance Trusts in the South West region.

Cornwall Councillors are concerned that there are just two ambulances in Penzance and Aisling Hick told members it may be worth our own Council discussing the matter with the mainland authority.

Our local SWAST ambulance service is set to merge with its Wiltshire and Gloucestershire counterpart, GWAS.

Aisling said that sometimes organisations that become bigger also become less concerned with areas at the periphery, a concern shared by meeting Chairman, Dudley Mumford, who didn’t want a “diluting of service.”

Aisling added there was no problem with provision here currently, although Marian Bennett recounted a conversation with a female ambulance technician who claimed to have been the sole worker on duty in Scilly over the entire weekend, two weeks ago.

The Ambulance Trust HQ told us a technician in a rapid response vehicle is backed up by an advanced technician on standby. They add that the Cornwall Air Ambulance operates seven days a week to provide extra support.

But Scilly’s Ambulance boss, Tony Smith said that doesn’t give the whole picture.

In Penzance there are also two Rapid Response cars as well as the two ambulances on call 24/7,

This is double the level of previous cover, before the last merge with Dorset SWAST, he says.

Tony says for St. Mary’s there are two full time Advanced Technicians plus a Care Assistant in the Ambulance and five Care Assistants on a retainer.

He says, “We are increasing cover not lowering it.”

Interviews were held last week to cover the staff shortages, and two more retained staff for St. Mary’s have been recruited, says Tony.

Once CRB checks and training have been completed they should be on-line in April.


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