Members will know that over recent months there has been a significant increase in Medical Responses/Assists and a consequent increase in problems being experienced with those calls.
It would seem that the trigger for the increase is the discussions on an updated M.O.U. with St. Johns Ambulance. The updated MOU has not yet been agreed and the existing MOU that dates back to the mid 2000s is still in force.
However, St. Johns have changed their Coding System and the application of reporting to Code Purple was expected to reduce the number of calls – instead however, they have increased, and what has also occurred is an increase in problems being experienced at the calls.
A number of specific examples have been referred to senior management – as well as problems with lack of training, equipment, support for firefighters and a lack of knowledge (from various parties) of other organizations’ practices and procedures.
Consequently, yesterday there was a meeting between the Union and Paul Baxter, Paul McGill and Stu Rooney. That group of Fire Service managers was quite willing to accept there are some serious problems out there and have committed to resolving them.
Separate to the specific MOU issues, a Project Team is to be established to look quite specifically at issues arising out of and related to medical responding – and the Union will be represented on the Team.
To summarize – all that can be done is being done both locally and nationally – however, it needs to happen faster.
In the meantime, the Union needs detailed reports of incidents when problems have occurred or where solutions have been found to problems – the need for this quite specific information is vital.
As well, it is vital that full and accurate reporting of incidents is entered in FIRS – including such things as whether the Fire Service arrived before the ambulance.