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Paramedics more likely to find patients need no treatment when called by police.

Mike Boyne of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives

Mike Boyne of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives

Date - 2nd November 2018
By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle
1 Comment1 Comment}


Officers are twice as likely as the general public to call an ambulance for an incident involving minor injuries because they are so concerned about misconduct investigations, the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) has found.

Mike Boyne, of the organisation, warned delegates at the National Police Chiefs’ Council and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners annual summit this week they would find his presentation "challenging" but said he “loves” the police.

He joked he used to be in the military police so he knows “what it is to be unloved”.

About three or four years ago the AACE started getting complaints from the police service about the timeliness of their response so decided to investigate their data.

Mr Boyne said the results showed calls from the public are more than twice as likely to relate to a serious issue than the police service and police are far more likely to request an ambulance for a low priority incident compared with the general public.

Paramedics are “much more” likely to arrive on scene and find patients need no treatment at all when asked to attend by police, he said.

Mr Boyne also stated the AACE found consistently over three years ambulance response times to a category one or two incident from the police are “generally equivalent or a little bit better” than when it comes from the public and normally faster for category three and four alerts.

“What comes through consistently to us is that the driver for that [ambulance calls for low level incidents] is the police fear of IOPC [Independent Office for Police Conduct] action.

“If you call an ambulance and get someone checked over just in case you’ve got pretty good cover.”

He said target response times for different types of incident are set by NHS England and will not take into account delays to other emergency services.

“Police officers are likely to wait longer in circumstances that are entirely appropriate for the patient’s condition that are not very practical for you given you want to be released from the scene to go on to respond to other police incidents.

“You can see how the problem is created.

“Where we get complaints there are some shockers but generally the response we get about delays are not delays in our world.”

Several ambulance trusts have already put in schemes which allow clinicians to speak directly to officers through the Airwave network or give officers direct lines into ambulance trusts have showed promising results, he said.

But tensions over funding between police and ambulance commissioners is presenting a serious barrier to collaboration, exacerbated by “police fear of IOPC”.

Mr Boyne said plans are underway to develop a national framework, working with the IOPC to amend their decision making guidance.

“We’re working to try and get more structure to that. We need your help to build confidence,” he said.

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Hardly surprising.

A fairly recent incident in my area. Police called to a male failed by MH services (the Coroners words not mine). Male kills himself in front of the cops, cops are immediately investigated by IOPC. The staff who failed him undergo no investigation or disciplinary measures at all.

With this kind of threat hanging over officers all the time it is no surprise they are reluctant to make a decison, and are becoming risk averse.

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