Freedom to speak up at SWAST is a mess…

I recently resigned from the Council of Governors for my local ambulance service. When I say local, it covers a huge area the population of which triples in summer. Recently, it has been in a critical incident due to Covid-19 and the stupidity of holiday makers taking unnecessary risks.

My resignation was to do with internal messes, miscommunications, and breach of my trust. So, I did not resign to my boss but to the Chairman of the Trust.

The interview was arranged by the chairman so that I could my concerns. However, the freedom to speak up left me with more concerns than ever.

I brought up that someone broke the Equality Act. I was told that they were kind so that didn’t matter, and further that they were kind meant they had broken the law “proportionally”. Proportionality is shown is in the penalty, not the breaking of the law!

I brought up that no one knew how to make a complaint about an emergency call handler. (Here, the complaint is made to the service needed. For example, if you have dialled 999 because you cannot breathe and all you can say is “am- am- am”, rather than ambulance, the 999 call handler should recognise that it is not the police or fire service that is required. It is amazing how many emergency call handlers cannot distinguish that. The time delayed could cost a life). But no, the freedom to speak up person also believed that the complaint goes to 999. Instead of believing me, she told me she would find out for herself. How rude.

So my debrief from my resignation left me with more concerns than before my debrief and very concerned about the culture within the office staff of that ambulance service.