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Shropshire safety worries over kits for paramedics

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Ambulance chiefs have withdrawn personal issue emergency response bags from paramedics in Shropshire because of safety fears. Ambulance chiefs have withdrawn personal issue emergency response bags from paramedics in Shropshire because of safety fears. But an online campaign has been launched in Shropshire to try overturn the decision of  the West Midlands Ambulance Service. It is claimed that the bags, which contain items such as a stethoscope, blood pressure kit and various drugs,have helped off-duty paramedics save lives on "numerous occasions". The issue of the bags to individual staff in Shropshire was stopped prior to the regionalisation of ambulance services in 2006. However those who already had one were allowed to keep them. The campaign has been launched by former Shrewsbury ambulance technician Steve Jetley. He has set up a new website - www.paramedic247.co.uk - to highlight his campaign. Full story in today's paper

Ambulance chiefs have withdrawn personal issue emergency response bags from paramedics in Shropshire because of safety fears.

But an online campaign has been launched in Shropshire to try overturn the decision of the West Midlands Ambulance Service. It is claimed that the bags, which contain items such as a stethoscope, blood pressure kit and various drugs,have helped off-duty paramedics save lives on "numerous occasions".

The issue of the bags to individual staff in Shropshire was stopped prior to the regionalisation of ambulance services in 2006.

However those who already had one were allowed to keep them. The campaign has been launched by former Shrewsbury ambulance technician Steve Jetley.

He has set up a new website - www.paramedic247.co.uk - to highlight his campaign and includes a poll in which people can register their support for paramedics keeping the kit.

Mr Jetley, who resigned from the ambulance service and helped to lead the fight to save the Shropshire emergency control centre, says on his website: "These bags contain vital life-saving equipment and drugs, and are maintained meticulously by most paramedics.

"They are typically carried in the car or kept at home when the paramedic is off-duty. Having these kits with them at all times allows paramedics to save lives 24-7."

He says over the years the bags have helped off-duty paramedics save lives on "numerous occasions".

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The ambulance service said to suggest that the decision had anything to do with cost was "unequivocally wrong".

It said that concerns had been growing about the safety of bags for some time and a number of audits had been carried out over recent months.

"Unfortunately, on almost every occasion, problems have been identified," said the statement. "These include the storage of out of date drugs, concerns over infection prevention and control issues and the carrying of unauthorised equipment. Each has a patient safety risk.

"These concerns were raised with staff but the most recent audit of eight bags found the vast majority failed to comply with trust guidelines.

By Dave Morris

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