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Bonuses for 999 staff not to send ambulances

14th January 2013

It has emerged that 999 workers will receive a £250 bonus if they cut down the amount of ambulances sent in response to calls. 

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An anonymous paramedic told a newspaper: "Bonuses mean staff might be tempted to divert a genuine caller. We shouldn't be rewarding people for not sending out ambulances."

"This is really worrying. People join the service to help the sick, not to profit from not sending an ambulance. There could be a temptation not to send a 999 ambulance to get the cash." 

The London Ambulance Service are awarding the bonuses in an attempt to ensure ambulances are called out to attend real emergencies and so they can meet targets for response times.

Paul Woodrow, director of service delivery for London Ambulance Service, said the bonus plan was created in order to make sure ambulances were called out to help the people who required emergency treatment.

He explained: "We are incredibly busy and need to make sure we have enough ambulances available for our most seriously ill and injured patients."

"People who call 999 for minor reasons like splinters, coughs and colds will not be sent an ambulance but referred to NHS Direct, their GP or walk in clinic – where they will get the right care."

He added that people who had non-serious illnesses should not attent A&E or dial 999 as the service was required by people who "really need" emergency treatment.

 

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