Ambulance staff to be given driving lessons

Updated: 

Ambulance crash

Ambulance workers in the East Midlands are to be given refresher driving lessons, in a bid to reduce the amount of crashes caused by first responders.

Bungling drivers from the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) have been involved in so many collisions they've racked up an estimated £400,000 bill, the Mirror reports.

Accidents range from minor incidents such as clipping the wing mirrors of parked cars and reversing into objects, to more serious crashes which have seen emergency vehicles taken out of service for extended periods of time – something the service is keen to see reduced.

However, EMAS is unlikely to save much cash, after it was reported the four driving instructors it had hired to tutor emergency service drivers would be paid £100,000 a year.

Speaking to the Mirror, EMAS worker Nicky Fothergill said: "Our staff drive in high-risk situations and accidents are not always their fault. When people see blue lights and hear a siren they can react unpredictably and in ways our staff can't always anticipate.

"There are things we can do to help. One is spotting any problems – like making sure drivers are reversing properly – before they happen."

While EMAS has been praised for ensuring their staff are up to the required level of driving competence – something that has previously cost the NHS dear in compensation payouts – the plans have been criticised for simply costing too much.

John O'Connell, director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, told the paper: "It's crucial we have fully trained ambulance drivers to get to emergencies safely but too much money is being wasted here."

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