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?