Ambulance Crew Assaulted While Attending Patient

An ambulance crew was assaulted in Trillick last night by a female patient who had called for their assistance moments earlier.

Responding to a 999 call, the ambulance crew sought to do nothing more than help an individual in need. During assessment and initial treatment the patient struck out at one of the female crew striking her on the face and also kicking her.  The second member of the crew, who was also female, attempted to intervene to prevent the patient from damaging equipment and, as a result, sustained an arm injury.

The crew removed themselves from the scene and called for police assistance who arrived and dealt with the individual involved.

Both crew members were stood down as they were unable to continue their shift meaning that the significantly rural area in and around Enniskillen was left with reduced cover between 11pm and 8am this morning with only one crew remaining to cope with calls in the area.

Assaults on our crews continue on an almost daily basis and the Trust hopes that by continuing to highlight those more serious in nature that everyone with influence in local communities and leadership positions wider afield will do all they can to support our staff, particularly by ensuring that those who carry out such attacks are brought before the courts to face the real prospect of custodial sentencing.

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NIAS Goes Green

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is changing its uniform for the first time since its inception in 1995.

The old royal blue shirts and navy trousers are to be replaced by the nationally recognised green uniform from Monday 12 September.

The change means that NIAS staff will now look the same as colleagues across the UK.

The change comes after extensive consultation by the Trust’s Uniform Committee which is made up of management representatives and trade union members representing the views of staff.

Bryan Snoddy, Assistant Director of Operations, and chairman of the Uniform Committee welcomed the change saying;

“The move to green uniforms has come about following a long period of discussion with representatives of staff. Work to facilitate the transition began almost three years ago and I am delighted that from Monday 12 September, NIAS staff will be instantly recognisable by a new uniform which brings a degree of consistency with other ambulance services throughout the UK.

The change in uniform could also be said to reflect the other major changes which have been taking place throughout our Service over the past number of years. These changes, facilitated by appropriate care pathways, are designed to ensure that NIAS delivers what is best for the patient.

From Monday patients may see a different uniform but the people delivering that service are the same highly committed professionals that have would have been delivering the Service on Sunday.

 I would like to place on record my personal thanks to those who have worked tirelessly in an effort to ensure that this transition to green happens as seamlessly as possible”

 

The Trust has produced a short promo video:

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Man & 2 Children Struck by Lightning

lightning-199651_1280The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is urging caution following an incident today when a man and two young children were struck by lightning in Lisburn.

NIAS was called to the scene, just before 2 pm today, following reports that an adult male had been struck by a bolt of lightning. A Rapid Response Paramedic was on scene in 7 minutes to find that two children had also been struck. Three A&E crews and a further 2 RRV Paramedics were sent to the scene.

The adult was taken to the nearby Lagan Valley Hospital and the two children were taken to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. All three are being treated for the injuries sustained and they remain in our thoughts.

As more thundery showers are forecast with the possibility of lightning we would ask people to remain very vigilant when they are out and about. If
there is a high chance of thunder storms – lightning safety advice would suggest that you stay indoors but if you are outside you should avoid open fields and hilltops. You should also stay away from tall, isolated trees. If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current travelling between group members. You should also stay away from water and wet items as well as metal objects, which are all excellent conductors of electricity.

Please – just stay safe!

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Ambulances Involved in 2 Separate RTC’s While on 999 Calls

20150819_102024Ambulances have been involved in two separate Road Traffic Collisions this morning while dealing with emergency calls.

The first incident happened on the Shore Road at Whiteabbey at approximately 8:30 while the crew was responding to a non-life-threatening emergency call in Carrickfergus. The ambulance was driving on the main road when a vehicle emerged from a side road.

No-one was seriously hurt in the incident although the occupant of the car has been brought to RVH for treatment. The crew were shaken by the incident and have been given a period of downtime.

Later, at approximately 8:50 a second ambulance was en route to hospital, from Portrush, with a patient following another non-life-threatening emergency when a vehicle emerged from the side road and clipped the rear end of the ambulance 20150819_102526sending it into a spin before ending up on its side. The patient and crew are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Causeway hospital.

NIAS would repeat its calls for drivers to exercise extreme caution on the roads at all times.

 

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Paramedic assaulted by casualty at RTC in Antrim

A paramedic with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been assaulted by the patient whom he was trying to help following a 2 vehicle road traffic collision on Dublin Road, Antrim on the evening of 23 July.

 

The crew arrived at the scene of the incident within four minutes of being notified which is reflective of their commitment and desire to help those in need.

 

When the crew arrived at the scene, one person required assistance but he became verbally aggressive before punching and kicking out at the paramedic who was trying to help. The paramedic, in trying to restrain the patient and protect himself, received a hand injury with potential ligament damage to his thumb. He continued with the call, taking his assailant to hospital for further treatment, before being checked out himself – further evidence of his own personal dedication to the job he has chosen to do.

 

Once again the Trust finds itself in the position of having to call for stiff sentences to be given to those who assault our staff. We do not believe that any circumstances justify such assaults. Our staff are committed to helping those who have an urgent need of assistance and should be left alone to do what they do best.

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Ambulance crew assaulted attending call in Cookstown

assaultAn ambulance crew was assaulted and vehicle damaged as they attended a patient in Cookstown in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The crew were preparing the patient for transport to hospital when they were approached by a passer-by who appeared to be intoxicated. He began by verbally abusing the crew and then physically assaulted the Paramedic, pinning him to a wall before knocking him to the ground where he sustained injuries to the head and right hand.

The other member of the crew secured the patient safely in the ambulance and went to assist his colleague. The assailant turned his attention to the second crew member and came at him with a flurry of punches. While trying to avoid this attack, the second crew member also sustained a head injury and damaged his knee in the fall.

The assailant then left the scene and the crew checked on the patient and began reporting the incident to ambulance control. While this was happening the assailant returned, got into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive the vehicle from the scene. However, due to a security device installed in NIAS vehicles, the engine stopped as soon as the handbrake was released. The vehicle continued to roll down the incline without any effort of the intruder to prevent it from so doing and it was only as a result of the quick actions of the paramedic, who re-applied the handbrake, that the vehicle did not career into a building.

When the vehicle came to a halt, with the nearside mirror rubbing along the gable wall, the assailant then started to kick out at the equipment on the dashboard damaging the Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) screen (through which call details are relayed to crews) and the Sat Nav screen.

He again left the vehicle and the crew took the opportunity to drive from the scene to the nearby PSNI station. The assailant was arrested a short time later.

The crew waited at the PSNI station, to where another crew was despatched from Dungannon to complete the original call. The crew members themselves were taken to Antrim Area Hospital and after treatment were discharged and advised, due to the head injuries, not to drive themselves. Both members of staff are, as a result of this totally unprovoked attack, unfit for duty.

While there is a financial cost (yet to be determined) to replacing this equipment, NIAS is more concerned about the physical injury and emotional distress caused to our staff members. The Trust condemns utterly this latest attack on our crews. It is extremely frightening, in the early hours of the morning, to be faced with such naked aggression and it is not something which anyone should be asked to tolerate – especially ambulance crews who dedicate themselves to saving lives and caring for the vulnerable.

We would encourage that all those who assault ambulance crews performing their duties should face custodial sentences, regardless of excuses proffered. Our staff must feel safe when dealing with patients; their focus must be free to ensure they are providing the highest levels of clinical care to those in need.

In 2014/15 NIAS crews were either verbally or physically assaulted on 251 occasions.

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NIAS Chief Executive praises staff for commitment on day of action

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was subject tballymena-featured-imageo industrial action on 6 May in the form of withdrawal of labour by the UNITE Trade Union in addition to ongoing “working to contracted hours only” action by UNISON, GMB and NIPSA.

The combination of both led to the Trust developing contingency plans with a specific emphasis on the action planned for 6 May and its potential impact.

The Trust cancelled planned non-urgent work to free up the available PCS and ICS crews to assist their colleagues in the emergency tier by playing a bigger role in hospital discharges.

Further contingencies involved the Trust making use of voluntary and private ambulance services to support A&E crews by undertaking work within their scope of practice.

From midnight on Tuesday to 08:00 on Wednesday the Trust operated with 40 of 52 planned NIAS crews. From 08:00 to 20:00 on Wednesday 44 of 61 crews were on duty and from 20:00 to 23:59 on Wednesday 39 of 52 crews were on duty.

In the 24 hour period NIAS responded to 441 emergency calls.  149 of these calls were Category A (life threatening calls).  NIAS responded to 47% of Category A calls within 8 minutes against a performance target of 75% and a more recent performance of mid 50’s%.

The average response time for Category A calls was 12mins 11 secs.

NIAS Chief Executive, Liam McIvor said,

“6 May was a particularly challenging day for NIAS. I would like to express my thanks to all those who played a role in ensuring that whoever called for our help yesterday, got it. I would also like to acknowledge the professionalism of all involved in delivering our service. We see this dedication day-in and day-out but I am aware that many people went the extra mile, putting the best interests of the patient to the fore.  To those who had to wait longer for an ambulance than they would have expected, I offer my apologies but am sure that, when our crews arrived, the care received was second to none.”

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NIAS advice to the public ahead of industrial action

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is facing more than two weeks of industrial action from Monday 27 April 2015, in addition to action already being taken by NIPSA which commenced at the beginning of April.

UNISON and GMB trade unions have informed the Trust that they will be advising their staff to work to contracted hours only from that date. The UNISON action will finish on 10 May and GMB will complete their action the following day.

Additionally the UNITE trade union has advised NIAS of their intention to withdraw labour for a 24 hour period on 6 May.

How will this impact on NIAS’s ability to deliver a service?

Working to contracted hours will reduce our capacity to respond as staff are being asked by Trade Unions not to work voluntary overtime. As a result of the withdrawal of labour by UNITE staff on 6 May 2015, NIAS anticipates that there will be an impact on the frontline but also within the Control room.

What will this mean for those who have need of the service?

In relation to the “working to contracted hours only” NIAS anticipates that this will impact on our ability to respond to calls as quickly as we would like and that a backlog of calls may build up.

In relation to the day of action on May 6, the Trust anticipates that there may be delays in answering calls in the control centre which will have a knock on impact on the despatch of ambulances.

What advice can NIAS provide to the public for this period?

The most important advice is that, at all times but particularly over this period, people should only use 999 when they really need it.

NIAS will continue to prioritise calls and will respond first to those with the highest clinical need.

Before calling 999, we would ask the public to consider:

•  Visiting a pharmacy

•  Contacting a GP

•  Using “out of hours” services

•  Using Minor Injury Units

•  Making their own way to the Emergency Department if appropriate

When would NIAS advise patients to phone 999?

NIAS would advise patients to call 999 especially, but not exclusively, in cases of:

•  Unconsciousness

•  Severe blood loss

•  Chest pain

•  Breathing difficulties

•  Severe burns or scalds

•  Fitting

•  Choking

•  Drowning

•  Severe allergic reactions

For more information, please visit our ‘Calling 999‘ page.

Is it possible that calls may not be responded to?

NIAS will seek to respond to all calls from the public. However due to the prioritisation process applied there may be delays for those less clinical urgent calls which we appreciate may cause distress to those involved including elderly people who may have fallen, some young children with broken bones or people who may have been involved in road traffic collisions and have not suffered serious injury.

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Press Statement Issued jointly on behalf of NIAS Trust and Trade Unions

Ref: Industrial Action 13 March 2015

  The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has been advised by Trade Unions of the intention of their members to strike on Friday 13 th March. The Trust recognises and respects the right of staff to participate in Industrial Action alongside the need to engage with Trade Unions to maintain patient safety and emergency services.

Discussions with Regional representatives had resulted in an agreed protocol whereby gaps in cover for emergency services and activities would be further discussed with local Trade Union representatives.

Following productive discussions today with local Trade Union representatives where the Trust has been informed that staff will either,

•  exercise their right to completely withdraw their services for full or part of the day or

•  staff may report for duty and only respond to Category A (potentially life threatening) calls. (Where possible staff who wish to respond from a picket line will be facilitated.),

a joint Management and Trade Union statement has been issued to staff highlighting progress that has been made during the discussions.

This current position protects response to the most seriously ill, potentially life-threatening patients, however, it represents removal of the capacity of the ambulance service to respond to and transport to hospital urgent but not immediately life-threatening patients, which accounts for 60% of 999 calls.

In relation to non-emergency work, NIAS has identified areas of work which would still be considered clinically critical including palliative care patients, oncology patients, renal patients and paediatric patients, towards which PCS resources will be directed as appropriate. The Trust must now cancel all other PCS activity on the day of the strike and patients will be informed accordingly.

Ambulance control staff are also involved in the strike action and this may impact on the speed at which calls to the Control centre are answered.

NIAS and Trade Unions continue to engage in a process to identify measures to address gaps in cover for emergency services and will reconvene on Thursday in an effort to progress these matters.

 

END

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