Green light for ambulances on speeding fine problem

Ambulance drivers will no longer be issued with speeding fines when en-route to emergency 999 calls, Health Minister Rosie Winterton announced today.

The Ambulance Service Association (ASA) estimates that it costs some Ambulance Trusts up to £1million a year to deal with the paperwork involved in proving that vehicles are responding to emergencies.

It is hoped that the new protocol will help reduce bureaucracy and free up staff to deal with more pressing issues of patient care.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have already issued a letter to all police forces explaining the new protocol. It states that a fixed penalty notice can only be sent out to the offending trust, if, on inspection of the photograph, blue lights cannot be seen flashing.

Speaking at the Ambex Conference, Harrogate, the Health Minister said: "In future, fixed penalty tickets for speed and red light offences will not be sent to ambulance trusts if blue emergency lights can be seen in use on the vehicle in the photograph. This will substantially reduce the bureaucracy ambulance staff have to endure by processing speeding tickets.

"Over the last year 75.7 % of category A calls resulted in a response arriving within eight minutes. This means ambulances are reaching more patients with life-threatening conditions faster than ever before - 50,000 more in 2003-04 than the previous year.

"Today's announcement will help ensure that ambulance staff are supported in delivering first class services for patients."

Richard Diment, Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service Association, welcomed the move, saying he was delighted "that this bureaucratic nightmare has been resolved".

"It will save the NHS a lot more time and money, freeing up ambulance trust resources," he added.


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