A call for Ambulance provision by some Sussex MPs

Ten days ago I wrote this piece that was adopted by the Argus newspaper which focused on Ambulance issues with a particular response to SECAmb. It was a response from a number of calls from MPs and responses that involved Maria Caulfield that took place on 13th July in Parliament. That piece was published on Monday the 18th July. One of the elements I mentioned was that sadly no Sussex MPs were involved and so therefore SECAmb did not get mentioned. Nevertheless one of my friends who has now retired from SECAmb endorsed a challenge from another MP who was concerned about the response from Maria Caulfield regarding her claim about Ambulance provision. I have just spotted that on the same day that the piece appeared on the Argus three of our Sussex MPs did each raise a question about Ambulance issues which included a reference to SECAmb. Although this was a very good start we clearly need more issues to be raised in the future. However it is worth reading these elements. The three MPs are all based in West Sussex, Mims Davies from Mid Sussex and the two Worthing MPs, Peter Bottomley and Tim Loughton. Here are their comments and some of the responses. .

Peter Bottomley raised this during the debate on Extreme Heat Prepardness which was a debate that was started by Caroline Lucas who is the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion. She spoke about the NHS and after her response from Kit Malthouse, Peter Bottomley was the next person to speak who stated

Peter Bottomley: May I, through a question to my right hon. Friend, put to the leaders of our public services, including the ambulance service, that if their staff do not have summer gear, they should be allowed to wear their own safe and appropriate summer gear, and ask all of them to ensure that people have good equipment and clothes for the summer, given that the temperatures are changing? It is wrong that people should only have winter gear in times like this.

Kit Malthouse: The Father of the House raises an extremely important point about the ability of our emergency services to cope and their resilience. Each of those organisations and their leaders will have to take that into account over the months to come. I have said to the team internally that we must learn exactly such practical lessons during this brief but nevertheless severe period of weather. I am sure we will see impacts on the transport network and elsewhere in the next 36 hours, some of which we can mitigate, but it is probably the case that not all effects will be mitigated; we should learn those lessons. My hon. Friend raises an important point for the future.

The other two elements that got raised came during the next debate which was on the subject of Ambulance Pressures. That debate was raised by the Minister who in this case was Steve Barclay. Tim Loughton spoke first and then later Mims Davies. They were the only Sussex MPs involved in that debate. Here are the calls. Tim Loughton did not specifically mention the Ambulance.

On Friday afternoon, I spent a shift with the A&E staff at the fantastic Worthing Hospital, which is clearly being impacted, in particular, by older people affected by the heat. The staff said to me—the Chairman of the Health Committee mentioned this—that more than 15% of the beds are being occupied by people medically fit to be discharged. They also said that a huge amount of their time is being taken up by people with mental health problems, including those being brought in by the police, most inappropriately. What more can be done to make sure that people with mental illness are being looked after away from A&E departments, as is far more appropriate, and to speed up the process of freeing up those beds?

A few minutes later Mims Davies then spoke

I pay tribute to all my Mid Sussex constituents on the frontline of all our emergency services in this extreme heat. They are absolutely continuing their heroic efforts, whether on the NHS backlog, managing discharges, as we have heard, or managing the impact of covid. Following recent media reports, will the Secretary of State note the constraints in certain ambulances, which my constituents have also raised, with cabs being too small and seatbelt use impacted for those over 6 feet tall? The impact of those new ambulances is on the agenda at a meeting for West Sussex MPs with SECAmb—South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust—this Friday.

This is the response that came from Steve Barclay

First, I am happy to join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to the work of the local staff in her ambulance trust. She raises an important point about the fleet, and I was very interested in this issue four years ago when I was ambulance trust Minister and discovered that there were, I think, 32 different types of ambulance. When I was out with crews over the past fortnight, one of the issues we discussed was the merits of tailgates so that people are not suffering work absence and musculoskeletal injuries because they are trying to push heavy loads on to an ambulance. I am interested in exploring with her and colleagues how we get the right standardisation and the right fleet in place. Indeed, we have been targeting additional money to support that work.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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