Emergency Service Government Cuts Can Cost Lives

Emergency Services Government Cuts Cost Lives


Openhouse looks at how Government cuts […]

Emergency Services Government Cuts Cost Lives


Openhouse looks at how Government cuts could affect blue-light responders in the UK. 

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Financial cuts to the NHS and other emergency services can threaten jobs and increase working hours for those still employed. This could have an affect on the quality of care provided to patients.


For those who attend serious medical emergencies such as paramedics, being stressed and under staffed can mean that they aren’t able to provide the best care possible to all patients. If people are working longer hours, often they can become tired and demotivated.

Being tired and unable to concentrate in any job, will mean that mistakes are more likely to occur.

Ambulance crews are to arrive at the scene of a serious medical emergency within eight minutes according to a recent BBC Panorama, but in some cases ambulance crews do not have the staff or resources to always meet this deadline.

There have been claims that the clinical triage system, which classifies the degree of seriousness of a medical emergency, has been misused when an ambulance is unable to arrive at the scene within eight minutes. However The Department of Health dismiss this claim.

It is important to note that The Department of Health said in a statement: “We have no evidence to suggest that ambulance trusts are reclassifying calls in order to meet performance standards.” (1)

However, a recent Telegraph article stated that all blue-light responders have been issued with bullet-proof vests in the aftermath of the Paris train shooting in August 2015.

Paramedics and fire crews are also to receive training on how to treat gunshot wounds in the event of a terrorist attack along with training of how to work in airports and railway stations which may have hidden improvised explosive devices which could be triggered by victims or emergency services crews themselves. (2)

It is important to note that, The Department of Health said in a statement: “We have no evidence to suggest that ambulance trusts are reclassifying calls in order to meet performance standards.” (1)

Emergency Paramedic


In the recent BBC Panorama, a UK paramedic claimed that because the NHS can’t afford to provide all staff with stab resistant vests, they were required to wait for police assistance before they could attend to a victim of an attack involving a weapon. In a medical emergency, time could mean the difference between a life changing   injury or a full recovery.

A spokesperson for The Department of Health highlighted the fact that GP’s were also at risk of being tired and stressed, with more patients requiring assistance with long-term medical conditions. Doctors surgeries must try to accommodate as many patients as possible which sometimes means GPs must work longer hours.


GPs do a fantastic job and we know they are under pressure as our population ages and more people live with long-term conditions…However, real support for GPs will come through changing the way the NHS works to focus on prevention not cure, which we are doing by backing NHS England’s five-year plan. This will ease the pressures GPs face and create a better service for patients.” (3)


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Figures released in January highlighted that the number of police officers in England and Wales had fallen to its lowest level for a decade. (4) Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester said the police service is “being cut in half” due to central government spending changes.(5)

94% of reported domestic burglaries in the capital are going unsolved according to Joanne McCartney, policing spokeswoman for Labour in London blames the Government cuts to the police force. (6)

With limited resources, police departments cannot afford to send a police officer to every single incident which is reported to them. This can mean that an incident is left unresolved or the delay in investigation could mean there is not enough evidence to make a conviction.

For the UK’s fire departments the government cuts could mean closure for some stations. Chief Fire Officer of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service claims he is expecting a financial reduction of around 26% a year in the government grants which make up approximately 40% of the service’s £75 million budget.

This significant financial cut could mean the service will be forced into closing some of it’s fire stations. (8)

The emergency services in the UK is a priceless life saving service which many of us take for granted. It is important to only call 999 if you have a serious medical emergency, need to report a crime or require the fire department, for less serious issues and incidents please call 101 for the police or 111 for medical assistance.

Here is a video for further clarity:

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