LIVES are being put at risk because a private ambulance company refused to properly train staff to deal with emergencies, the GMB union warned yesterday.
The union said it was “appalling” to endanger people’s health in the pursuit of profit by offering drivers minimal training for high-speed driving.
Former employees of the Essex-based Private Ambulance Service (PAS) — which provides emergency cover for the East of England Ambulance Service — claimed that staff received just one hour blue-light training.
Dan Duke told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show: “I got in the vehicle, got everything ready, started to drive out, put the blue lights on, and then it was just drive all the way down the A127 … and then back to the trading estate from where they are based — an hour’s training.”
And another ex-employee warned: “It’s putting patients at risk. It’s putting lives at risk. It’s delaying what can be time-critical first aid.”
A PAS spokesman said blue-light training has been outsourced since 2016 and questioned the accuracy of the allegations.
“All of our staff are fully trained above the required standard … We are regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission and were last inspected in October 2016.”
GMB national officer Sharon Holder said: “The idea of private ambulance drivers hurtling through our streets with blue lights flashing after just one hour driver training is, frankly, terrifying.
“There is a very good reason why NHS paramedics have a minimum of four weeks of training before being allowed to drive on emergencies.
“To risk the lives of patients and members of the public by sending out possibly unqualified paramedics — in the name of increased profits — is an appalling thing to do.”
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