Ambulance volunteers suspended over “blue lights” breach

Date: Friday 12th October 2018

TWO ambulance volunteers from Alston were told to stand down after an incident on Friday which allegedly involved the use of flashing blue lights when they had not had the proper training.

The following day, Zoe Paisley started a petition calling on North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group to “drop the suspension of two medical volunteers”.

She said two of Alston Moor’s most regular ambulance crew had been “suspended” because the driver of a car would not move aside in the town’s narrow street so they turned on the blue lights on their vehicle — something they were not supposed to do — when on their way to a suspected heart attack victim.

Laura Seaton said: “It’s absolutely shocking they have been suspended as North West Ambulance Service say they have not received the appropriate training to use their blue lights.

“I am a nurse in the community and, like all the other residents in Alston Moor, think it’s utterly ridiculous to suspend them. We fight all the time to keep our ambulance service. We have had so many council cuts as it is.”

By Wednesday afternoon, 1,565 people had signed the petition to the clinical commissioning group and NWAS.

A spokesman for NWAS said: “The trust is investigating reports that two ambulance volunteers have been driving on blue lights without the necessary training.

“While we very much appreciate the work undertaken by the volunteers in Alston, emergency response driving can put other road users, staff and patients at risk and so requires extensive training to ensure their safety.

“There are strict guidance and laws which cover blue light driving, which would be covered in the training, so it is essential that blue light responders are aware of these or they could find themselves being prosecuted for road traffic offences. Therefore we are taking these allegations very seriously.

“The volunteers in question have been stood down from duties while the investigation is ongoing.”