Private Ambulance Service (PAS) staff have stated that they received training for merely an hour to drive under blue lights. PAS offers emergency ambulance transport to the East of England Ambulance Service. The staff also stated that equipment aboard PAS’s ambulances are not maintained adequately.
In response, PAS clarified that its blue light ambulance driver training is outsourced. However, a driver who is no longer working for the ambulance transport provider stated that during his tenure with the contractor, he received minimal training to transport seriously ill patients.
The driver is now working for another ambulance service and states that he has received comprehensive training with his new employer on how to drive under different conditions.
NHS contractors who provide medical transport service need to be aware of the Road Safety Act 2006. The Act allows ambulance drivers to overlook certain road laws as long as they receive proper training.
The East Midland Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s Dave Bradley pointed out that no ambulance driver can drive under blue lights with just an hour’s training. He went on to add that everything on the road is a hazard for ambulance drivers, and the East Midland Ambulance Service NHS Trust realises that. That is why its ambulance drivers’ training course is for four weeks, with the first two weeks of the training ensuring that ambulance drivers have a good foundation and the second half dedicated to blue light driving.
A PAS spokesperson stated that the firm provides high-level care to all patients that its service transports. The spokesperson also insisted that the company’s staff receive the necessary training to ensure safe and effective patient transport.
The Care Quality Commission stated that after carrying out an inspection in August 2016, many of the issues raised by previous staff were found to be unsubstantiated, but PAS does not have proper standards to control infections, and staff do not get sufficient time to rest between shifts.