Councillors Demand Answers Over Off-Island Ambulance Pagers

mule ambulance on bryherIt’s emerged that some of the pagers that should alert ambulance co-responders to an emergency on the off-islands haven’t been working. And one councillor says it could mean the difference between life and death.

Scilly’s Healthwatch organisation has contacted the South Western Ambulance Service Trust following concerns over missed messages, calls not being answered and delayed response times.

But Dan Marcus, who leads the Council’s Emergency Planning team, told the Authority’s Health Committee that SWAST’s reply has been, “not exactly brilliant” and that there, “hadn’t been enough forward momentum.”

Members wanted the matter resolved and they discussed how they could tackle the Ambulance Trust during an urgent agenda item in the meeting.

Officers recommended forming a small committee or single-issue group that could work solely on gathering evidence of pager system failures, which would then be presented to SWAST as evidence.

Bryher Cllr Marian Bennett thought the Council should just call the co-responders to gather the facts, then write a report and rush that document to someone who could sort it out.

But St Martin’s Cllr Christine Savill felt that a devoted, single-issue committee would have clout if SWAST didn’t reply to a letter.

And she said councillors could demand that they attend a meeting of the committee to explain the situation.

Members eventually agreed that a letter should be written and signed by committee Chairman Gordon Bilsborough, who said, “sparks will fly” if he doesn’t hear back from SWAST within a week.

We’ve asked the Ambulance Trust for a response and we’ll tell you what they say if and when they reply.

Gordon Bilsbourgh is the new chairman of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee that deals with health care issues and liaises with the NHS and Ambulance service.

Gordon had nominated Dr Adrian Davis, but Adrian said he didn’t want it. Adrian backed Gordon for the chair and he was voted on.

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