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COMMENT: Good news, but it could be better
10:30am Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
THE news that five more ambulances will be joining our county’s fleet next month has naturally been welcomed.
It pleases the Prime Minister – but it will please many others, too.
At a time when public sector cash injections are as rare as convincing England football victories, some people will be rubbing their hands with glee.
But while anything that officials can do to loosen the purse strings and head off another winter crisis has to be welcomed, we should be careful.
The ambulance trust has already told us that it needs to boost its fleet by 90 to hit Government targets on response times for emergency call-outs.
So news that it will be upping its numbers by far less than that is, by the trust’s own aspirations, a disappointment.
It might seem strange to say that, given how desperately needed extra investment is.
But for residents in rural areas of this county calling 999 when in serious need, a partial response to a greater need will not be seen as a success – unless their own experiences improve.
Yet while we expect and demand that our health service is properly funded, we should also perhaps look a little more closely to home.
Each eyebrow-raising report of a patient ringing 999 with a headache or asking for a lift is another illustration that some people do not realise what the health system is meant to be for. Until everybody appreciates that services need to be used responsibly, we too have more to do.