Police chief raises concerns about ambulance cover after officers have to ferry patients to A&E

Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes.
Lincolnshire Police Chief Constable Neil Rhodes.

The Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police has spoken out about concerns over ambulance cover in the county after his officers had to ferry patients to hospital overnight.

Chief Constable Neil Rhodes put out an exasperated message on his Twitter feed at 12.15am this morning (Sunday): “Officers from both Lincoln and Boston ended up working as ambulances last night. EMAS needs to be properly resourced.”

Pete Ripley Associate Director of Operations at East Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We work closely with our colleagues in the police to ensure that patients they encounter are properly assessed by our control team to determine what response they need. We are in contact with Lincolnshire Police to understand which incidents they are referring to.”

It was believed there had been two incidents last night where police officers had attended and then felt the need to transport the patient to hospital themselves. It was stressed they had not be sent out instead of an ambulance.

A campaign group on Twitter called Fighting 4 Grantham Hospital, battling to reverse the overnight closure of its A and E department, weighed into the debate, drawing attention to an account from a Grantham Police officer from last night.

He is quoted as saying: “As a cop I had to deal with someone semi-conscious with significant injuries who really needed medical help. I called for an ambulance, told no ambulances available. Waited almost an hour, still no ambulance available despite pleading again and again for assistance.

“Previously we’d have just taken the person ourselves the short distance to A&E to avoid delay, but now we can’t because we can’t justify the 90 minute, 70 mile round trip every time to Lincoln Hospital. Because we have no A&E at night we now have to rely more on ambulance for assistance which sadly we just don’t get.

“On this particular occasion the person had to be carried to a taxi and taken to Lincoln Hospital and this I’m afraid will soon become the norm.

“As a cop who joined the police to help people I’m so sorry it has come to this.”

* The Standard has contacted the Chief Constable and Lincolnshire Police to comment further on this matter but is awaiting a response at this time.