Private ambulances putting patients at risk?

NHS due dilligence

There has been a reported rise in the number of private ambulances in use, which is feared to be leaving patients at a greater risk of medical negligence.

It’s understood that chronic shortages are leading to many Trusts using private ambulances for 999 calls more and more. The spend on private vehicles is said to be increasing, with millions being spent in order to cover gaps in the service.

The worry is whether these private ambulances are up to the job, especially since recent studies suggests that they may not be.

Private ambulances on the rise

The number of private ambulances being used by Trusts to cover what has been classed as chronic shortages is reportedly on the rise.

For those with fears of NHS privatisation, the increasing volumes of privately-outsourced work like this is a cause for concern.

The overall cost of medical negligence pay-outs could rise when patients are put at a greater risk from problems like this. It’s a problem that must be addressed.

Why are we concerned?

We’re concerned about the rise of private ambulances given some of the stories we have heard together with the views of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

There was one story where a private ambulance responding to a 999 call was reportedly carrying a broken defibrillator, and the patient being responded to tragically died. This raises questions about the safety of relying on private ambulances.

Concerns have been recently aired by the CQC, who issued a damming report earlier this year that warned that patients may be put at risk from using private ambulances. Issues surrounding some firms failing to obtain references and carry out criminal records checks, as well as a lack of staff training, were highlighted.

What can patients who suffer do?

It any patient suffers as a result of negligence on the part of a private ambulance, there are of course options for justice by way of a medical negligence compensation claim.

Although we would hope that warnings are listened to and that the situation improves, and that patients aren’t put at risk, there must be an avenue for justice if an incident does take place.

Medical negligence claims can be brought against both the NHS and private entities as well.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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