Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Accident Centre

Passing swiftly by another set of demands that a parallel system of ‘Sharia’ law should be implemented in the same well-defined areas of Britain that have caused the Bishop of Rochester recent concern, I was struck by what appears to be an eminently sensible policy statement from the Conservative Party.

The Shadow Home Secretary , David Davis, has pledged that under a Conservative government, “Dozens of health and safety rules will be swept away for police and members of the emergency services.”

He added that the Conservatives would "rebalance" the system so that police and rescue workers were not subject to rules that penalised them for acts of bravery.

In the United States, a country that suffered from the predatory attentions of ambulance chasing lawyers for decades, a ‘Good Samaritan’ law was introduced, “protecting from blame those who choose to aid others who are injured or ill.”

In Britain, we are a country that thrives on blame and so-called ‘compensation’. Simply watch any hour of Sky television during the day or wander past an “Accident Centre” in any high street.

Now I think that allowing emergency workers like the recently sacked coastguard - who appeared in the papers because he climbed-down a cliff to rescue a girl before safety equipment arrived – should be able to make their own decision as to whether they act to save a life and risk their own or injury in the process or wait for appropriate support under Health & Safety guidelines.

About ten years ago, I took a paramedic course at The Stoke Royal Infirmary and then did my practical ‘internship’ at St George’s Hospital busy A&E unit in London. The original purpose was to support the work I was doing as a mixed-gas (Trimix/Helium) instructor trainer in the hostile conditions found at great depth but I also found the experience and training invaluable in the aftermath of several motorway crashes and other serious incidents, - including strangely enough an El Al flight to Israel - while waiting for the emergency services to arrive.

During my training, the first part of the emergency treatment protocol was to ask “Is it safe” because there is no sense in becoming a second victim as a consequence of a hasty decision but once the situation has been properly evaluated, what do you do? Do you leave the unconscious and badly broken motorcyclist to die by the side of the M25 because his airway is blocked and nobody wants to or knows how to remove his crash helmet correctly or do you intervene and maintain life support until the ambulance arrives?

These days, I would think twice about helping anyone because I worry about being sued if I did. In training, we were told that “Death is the worst possible form of ill-health” but think back to the floods tragedy last summer, when I young man, with his foot caught in a drain cover drowned, because nobody would take the responsibility of quickly amputating his foot at the ankle, in the event that he might die of blood-poisoning. Instead, he simply drowned in front of the emergency services. What kind of outcome is that?

No, I think that on this occasion, introducing something equivalent to a ‘Good Samaritan’ law is a sound idea before the compulsive and obsessive Health & Safety culture in which we all live, finally hands the lunatics the keys to the asylum and surrenders any notion of personal initiative and common-sense at the same time.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Is there a link to the first part of this post as I cannot find it on the news pages,cheers.

Michael Child said...

Health and safety has become one of those cleaver phrases used to regulate our society, in most cases it no longer makes anything safer but has become an excuse to perpetuate bureaucracy and grease the palms of lawyers.

Every stupid unnecessary yellow line every mangled length of safety fencing that has in itself become dangerous with the inevitable hole in it making its purpose a failure to all those too young to read a warning sign, all the result of saying it’s for health and safety reasons so it must be right.

We started with good legislation, safety guards on machines, seat belts, crash helmets but we just don’t seem to know when to stop, ironically if you report a serious health and safety issue you will probably find that there are not enough health and safety officers to deal with it.

Spot unsafe scaffolding, one has already collapsed in Ramsgate High Street and you will find there is only one health and safety officer in the whole of Kent responsible for scaffolding.

DrMoores said...

Link now included in the story!

Anonymous said...

The police and fire service need to be under the same rules as everyone else. Without rules we may as well stop being Conservatives and join the Labour loons of the left.

Dr D. L Thomas

DrMoores said...

So, in the absence of backup, a police officer or coastguard,or paramedic dives off promenade into the sea to try and rescue a child in difficulty. It's an instant and arguably moral decision but based on a) the fact he knows he's a good swimmer and b) that the child may drown if he does not. In that same split second weighing-up of the odds, he also knows that he may also become a casualty.

The question then is should the rescuer be censured by his employer and possibly lose his job as a consequence?

I'm sure we could come-up with many different examples of different circumstances but while acknowledging that the Police and the Fire Service should have rules, do conditions exist where such rules could and perhaps should be broken by an individual in the interest of preserving human life?

Anonymous said...

Part of being grown up is that you do what you feel is right. Then face any consequence.

This is why I suggested that there should be no legislation to protect whistleblowers. Instead there should be legislation to punish people who fail to whistleblow, to deny people of the low risk parochial persuasion the cop out option. To make people grow up and take responsibility.

Being grown up is to be unto your own self true. If you weigh your action by what cost there may be to yourself then you are not a man my son. Weigh your actions by what is right.

Anonymous said...

Dr Moores.

Didnt you run a topic a few months ago criticising those pcso's for not jumping into a river and not saving the child as they stated H/S.

you cant have it both ways surely

DrMoores said...

Yes, for much the same reasons as stated. They felt contrained by the HSE regulations and any sense of inititiative in the circumstances, moral or otherwise flew out of the window reportedly!

Cllr David Green said...


I cant see what point you are trying to make with the photo associated with this blog item, or its relevence to the item.
Coold you explain.

DrMoores said...

It's a plane. It's had an accident!