Nightmare Before Christmas 1: Ambulance Crews earning too much!


As the much-desired NHS Scotland Winter Crisis fails to emerge, in real terms such as delays at A&E or in ambulance response times, the Scotsman can wait no longer to alert the public. Luckily Scottish Ambulance Service figures reveal increased spending on overtime payments to paramedics as the winter, even a mild one it seems, has put ‘huge and growing pressure’ on staff.

Reading Scott McNab’s report, there’s no sign of anyone actually saying that, or even seeing who has said ‘unacceptable staff shortages.’ That usually reliable orator (irony!) Annie Wells seems to have forgotten to say those things so that she can be quoted. McNab’s report is a desperate, vague and uncoordinated list of ‘might be’ problems but contains no actual evidence of these overtime payments being responsible for anything other than, maybe, increased Christmas-giving by paramedics?

He cannot even find one paramedic to say they are unhappy with the extra shifts. He cannot find one disgruntled partner to complain about them being over-tired or feeling guilty about not helping enough with the shopping. He can’t even find one doctor to offer any anecdotal evidence.

Isn’t this just what an efficient system does? Increasing overtime is clearly better than training more paramedics than you need at other times and then trying to employ them on seasonal contracts. Do some folk want to train intensively as paramedics then only work in the winter months?

In the 18th and 19th wee paragraphs, the ambulance service and the Scottish Government get to remind us that actual performance is high.




6 thoughts on “Nightmare Before Christmas 1: Ambulance Crews earning too much!

  1. Alasdair Macdonald December 24, 2018 / 9:20 am

    Naturally, GMS headlined with ‘crisis in the Scottish Ambulance Service’. They did attribute this to an FoI request by the Scottish Conservatives and then followed up, in traditional BBC style by presenting SG figures as a ‘denial’ of the claims.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bugger (the Panda) December 24, 2018 / 10:06 am

    Greetings Teenies

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bugger (the Panda) December 24, 2018 / 10:07 am

    Merry Crimble to all when it comes.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Diane Davidson December 24, 2018 / 4:19 pm

    Merry Christmas John. A massive thank you for all the good news you write about that might otherwise be buried by the msm! I share it and save it to use to back up comments I make on facebook. Greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hugh Wallace December 28, 2018 / 9:29 am

    “Increase in overtime payments to paramedics”: small, tiny, minor detail missing from this story & others like it in other rags.

    Paramedics were moved from pay band 5 to band 6 while technicians (a lower skilled ambulance crew member) went from band 4 to band 5. It seems to me that ambulance crews could be doing fewer overtime hours & still the overtime payments would be up…

    But I do agree with the line that the ambulance service could do with more money for front line staff. While the Scottish Ambulance Service is performing well in the UK scale (actually, it performs pretty much near the top of the world scale) & meets statutory targets more often than not, that only tells part of the story. Too many people, especially elderly ones, who are not ill enough to warrant an emergency ambulance are waiting far, far, far too long to be taken to hospital (or home again) because there aren’t enough ambulances on the road at any one time.

    But then, more funding for social services to look after elderly would alleviate much of the pressure on the ambulance service as would better education on nutrition & exercise which would reduce the number of chronically ill people considerably. More money needs spending on a while lot of things that aren’t trident, hs2 & other such projects…


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