Considers charging NHS

14 May 2018

As the ambulance service continues to struggle with meeting 999 response time targets, firefighters are increasingly being called to provide cover for medical emergencies.

According to a BBC Wales report, the Welsh government is considering charging the NHS for the cover the fire service is providing.

In 2017 firefighters attended 4200 medical calls and were the first emergency service to attend in more than 40 per cent of cases. The numbers have been rising steadily and over the past seven years the fire service has responded to more than 16,000 medical incidents. 

Eleven per cent of fire service call outs are now for medical emergencies and fire engines are despatched instead of ambulances if it is estimated they can reach the incident sooner, particularly if the call is judged to be of relatively low-priority.

This follows on from a growing trend of firefighters being expected to provide public health advice to the public about preventing accidents in the home, healthy eating, addictive habits, and the reporting of suspected domestic violence.

Original source

BBC Wales