Special Constable or paramedic sir?

Posts Tagged ‘accident’

Special Constable or paramedic sir?

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Would you be happy if a Special Constable arrived rather than a paramedic?

A pilot scheme has been launched in Hampshire which will see six Special Constables serving as First Responders for the Ambulance Service.

The Specials who have been trained by paramedics will be deployed to carry out initial lifesaving treatment at medical emergencies where an ambulance may not be able to attend in time.

Sooner rather than later

The training provided by Southern Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) provided the Specials with basic lifesaving skills including the use of oxygen and a defibrillator in cases of cardiac arrest. The idea is that the Specials could be the closest medically trained person to an incident which would mean a response in minutes which might save lives in cases such as cardiac arrest.

Clearly where time is of the essence it is better to have someone on scene who can provide treatment until the ambulance services can reach the scene.  We would however be concerned that decisions on the need for an ambulance attending at all, when the service is overstretched, might be left to the first attender.


The Special Constables will be classified as First Responders when deployed by the ambulance service to avoid the potential of an IPCC investigation in the event of a death which would typically be investigated as a death following police contact.

The pilot scheme raises questions as to whether it is papering over the cracks of a broken ambulance service when police officers are struggling to respond to their own 999 calls.

Retained fire fighters

PCSOs are already used as retained firefighters in Devon. The voluntary role is part of a two-year pilot scheme by Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

This pioneering initiative joining up the emergency services will combine the roles of PCSOs and retained firefighters.  The scheme will see PCSOs trained up as retained firefighters so that they can carry pagers and respond to fire calls when they are on duty as PCSOs.

The cover provided by the officers is particularly valuable during weekdays when the fire service struggle to cover retained stations when most of their responders are committed n their normal day jobs.

It is hoped that the officers will be able to provide a better more joined up service where officers visiting premises or engaging with community groups can not only deliver crime related advice but also fire safety advice that will protect people from harm.

It has been suggested that PCSOs are taking the strain for overworked social services, mental health services, children’s homes and hospitals, fire service and now the ambulance service.


We would love to know how you feel about the pilot scheme and whether it is positive thing to have more First Responders or a situation where follow up training and driver response training will not be provided and will result in a recipe for disaster.



Bionic Eye Trial

Posted on: January 8th, 2016 by Mark Tawn No Comments

The BBC have reported wonderful news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35220615 arising from a clinical trial at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

‘Six patients who have had little or no sight for many years are having a cutting-edge “bionic eye” implanted in an attempt to give them some sight, and independence, back’.

The BBC’s article explains Rhian Lewis from Cardiff was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (which destroys light sensitive cells in the retina) which left her blind in her right eye and almost completely so in her left eye.

In summer a device (which replaces the light-sensitive retinal cells in the eye) was implanted into Rhian Lewis’ right eye. The device was connected to a tiny computer placed under the skin behind her ear. When switched on a signal travels to her brain via her optic nerve. Within seconds of the device being switched on Rhian Lewis (who had seen nothing with her right eye for over 16 years)  experienced a “flashing” in her eye.

That flashing, became more like a line at the top and bottom of her eye and with the passage of time is now “..more of a shimmer..much less distracting and a little more accurate.”

The clinical trial team have performed tests and an elated Rhian was “chuffed…like a kid at Christmas!” to be able to locate shapes on a table; outside to be able to see the sun shining on a silver car and to realise it had gone dark when walking beneath a tree.

Rhian Lewis describes the excitement and “..pure elation..pure joy..” she experiences at being able, for the first time in 16 or 17 years, to locate items such as spoons and forks on a table. She continues to practise interpreting the signals and regaining her independence. We wish her very well indeed for the future.

The clinical trial continues, with the team reportedly hopeful that if it is successful there may be a possibility of the implant being made available on the NHS and that the technology may one day apply to other eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration.

We have successfully acted for (and secured damages/compensation) for many clients who have been left partially or totally blind e.g. Malcolm who lost sight in one eye following a paint-balling accident; John who suffered a knife-wound to one eye whilst working as a butcher and Ian who suffered chemical burns to both eyes whilst at work.

We know how devastating loss of eyesight can be.

Rhian Lewis’ blindness was not accident-related and even with her condition she “still had an intact optic nerve and all the brain wiring needed for vision”. Whilst the clients we have mentioned may not have benefited from technology such as that mentioned above, we always carefully consider how, if possible, our client’s lives may be improved by advances in medication, therapies, treatment, aids, equipment and technology.