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ForceHQ

When is an ambulance not ambulance?

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ForceHQ

So recently I've started to notice more ambulances out and about that are no showing the NHS logo. Now I suspect that they have been around a while but I've just lumped all yellow/white vans with blue lights into one category.

I know there's a market for ambulances and paramedics at events and shows, but the amount I'm now noticing I assume they do 999 work aswell.

I'm just curious really as to how good they are? Are there any signs I should be on the look out for in terms of a less legit outfit. I'm basically thinking of that guy on road wars a few years ago in the ambulance car.

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Burnie

If they are CQC registered as an ambulance service then they're legit but you won't know that out on the street.

There's a couple of companies in use round my way at the moment doing EMAS contract work. The main one is Amvale. A large proportion of their staff are ex-EMAS paramedics who work for Amvale because its better money and regular shift patterns and are, in effect, still responding for EMAS.

One tip is that if they say they're a paramedic then they should have a HCPC card as all Paramedics have to be HCPC registered. The vehicle should also be registered Nil tax as an ambulance. BUT if it is registered nil then that doesn't necessarily mean its legit.

If its not nil tax then that person hasn't bothered to tell the tax man that they have converted it to an ambulance for some reason which is a really quite simple process I understand. Especially as the vehicle tax class doesn't require it to be used by an ambulance service. There are private individuals out there who have liveried/equipped vehicles registered as nil tax as the vehicle is suitably equipped to be used as an ambulance.

Edited by Burnie

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ForceHQ

Thanks Burnie. Is CQC like the amb version of SIA? And after a cheeky google I'm assuming it's the care quality commission you refer to?

Tax wise I've just been reading up on it, so I may of got the wrong end of the stick, but does it have to be used soely as an ambulance and nothing else?

Eg, Smith has marked his Volvo T90 as an ambulance and fitted a stretcher because he uses it on Sunday for working at shows.

However the rest of the week he drives it to his office job and collects his kids from school in it. This would require different tax? Also would Smith need business insurance?

Would it be different if he had not fitted the stretcher?

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Burnie

Correct.

If taxed as an ambulance it must be used exclusively as an ambulance.

Business use wouldn't even be sufficient - you need "Special Class" insurance as an Ambulance. Often referred to as 'Blue Light' insurance.

If there's no stretcher then it's not an ambulance and would be illegal to have blue lights, siren and would not qualify for Nil tax. The only exemption to this is RRVs being used by (or on contract to) an NHS Ambulance Trust who can have blues/siren.

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PJ1

CQC is indeed care quality commission who regulate health type things...

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-AJ

Yes - Lots of private companies do 999 work contracted to the NHS. Particularly prevalent in London etc.   Most of the private crews are fine, though most often they tend to be an ECA or Technician crew, it's rare they employ paramedics due to cost.   I just dislike the idea on principle, because these private companies have to make a profit.  Whereas an NHS ambulance will do whatever is best, and carry the best kit for the patient, a private company may decide to cut corners to turn bigger profits.   Their staff are often paid higher than their NHS equivalent though!

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ForceHQ

Yes - Lots of private companies do 999 work contracted to the NHS. Particularly prevalent in London etc. Most of the private crews are fine, though most often they tend to be an ECA or Technician crew, it's rare they employ paramedics due to cost. I just dislike the idea on principle, because these private companies have to make a profit. Whereas an NHS ambulance will do whatever is best, and carry the best kit for the patient, a private company may decide to cut corners to turn bigger profits. Their staff are often paid higher than their NHS equivalent though!

I've wondered this with many things. Prisons, control rooms, custody, and maintenance. How can you pay less to someone else who is taking a cut and expect the same or a better service??

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SW_matt

I've wondered this with many things. Prisons, control rooms, custody, and maintenance. How can you pay less to someone else who is taking a cut and expect the same or a better service??

in the same way you can expect the same/better service from private healthcare facilities. They will still be subject to certain standards and will still be subject to a duty of care. You could perhaps argue because they are competing for contracts then they are more likely to hold themselves out in a light that makes them look better (better kit etc). Whether this happens in practice i don't know.

 

There is a company down here that transports lots of our violent prisoners to either AnE or mental health placements and are contracted to police.

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ForceHQ

in the same way you can expect the same/better service from private healthcare facilities. They will still be subject to certain standards and will still be subject to a duty of care. You could perhaps argue because they are competing for contracts then they are more likely to hold themselves out in a light that makes them look better (better kit etc). Whether this happens in practice i don't know.

There is a company down here that transports lots of our violent prisoners to either AnE or mental health placements and are contracted to police.

I think your correct to a point with some contracts. However I think with some of the big ones They are almost irreplaceable and know that. I don't wish to tar every private provider with the same brush. I have however found good service the exception. Not the norm.

I also like the sound of specialist 136 transport. As realistically it's something neither the police or ambulance are that set up to deal with it. Can they use restraints?

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SW_matt

I think your correct to a point with some contracts. However I think with some of the big ones They are almost irreplaceable and know that. I don't wish to tar every private provider with the same brush. I have however found good service the exception. Not the norm.

I also like the sound of specialist 136 transport. As realistically it's something neither the police or ambulance are that set up to deal with it. Can they use restraints?

Thats true! I've never had any real experience of private healthcare so can't really comment further 

 

Yes they can, I believe they are trained in restraint etc, basically used in cases it would be unfair to expect paramedics to transport them, they are more or less fully equipped ambulances.

 

I believe they also do hospital/cell watches as part of their service but i haven't seen them used for that down my way

Edited by SW_matt

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Klaus

I also like the sound of specialist 136 transport. As realistically it's something neither the police or ambulance are that set up to deal with it. Can they use restraints?

It's a company called Definitive Secure Ambulance, and yes they're trained in non-pain compliant restraint and carry handcuffs.

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SW_matt

i think the ones down here are calling themselves medi-sec

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Giraffe

In London as someone's mentioned they are using private ambulance services a lot more, which is not really surprising as there is a shortage of paramedics in the capital (and nationally as well).

 

What I do object to though is when private ambulance services try and purport to be proper NHS ambulance services - for example sticking slogans on the sides of their vehicles such as 'Working in Partnership with the NHS' and the NHS logo, when they are just contracted to do the occassional bit of work.

 

In Surrey after Surrey Ambulance Service (NHS Trust) were merged with other NHS ambulance services into South East Coast Ambulance Service, a private ambulance service decided to take on the name 'Surrey Ambulance Service' (see http://www.surreyambulance.co.uk/), giving them the appearance of being part of the actual ambulance service.

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Soap

In London as someone's mentioned they are using private ambulance services a lot more, which is not really surprising as there is a shortage of paramedics in the capital (and nationally as well).

 

What I do object to though is when private ambulance services try and purport to be proper NHS ambulance services - for example sticking slogans on the sides of their vehicles such as 'Working in Partnership with the NHS' and the NHS logo, when they are just contracted to do the occassional bit of work.

 

In Surrey after Surrey Ambulance Service (NHS Trust) were merged with other NHS ambulance services into South East Coast Ambulance Service, a private ambulance service decided to take on the name 'Surrey Ambulance Service' (see http://www.surreyambulance.co.uk/), giving them the appearance of being part of the actual ambulance service.

 

Them and ERS Medical are the big players round here.

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Klaus

I spoke to some ERS staff and they said they get paid far more working for the contract firm than they would if they worked for NHS

Edited by Klaus

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