Patients being let down by 999 taxi service to hospital

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...and Olga’s funeral is a sign of the times

THE fact that Yorkshire’s ambulance service has long-standing management problems is well known. However, the revelation that thousands of private hire taxis are being drafted in to drive seriously ill patients to the region’s hospitals heaps fresh embarrassment on the organisation and heightens concern over the manner in which it is being run.

More than 2,100 private hire cabs responded to 999 emergency calls in the county last year, as opposed to just 20 in 2013.

As with any change in healthcare procedure, the most pertinent question of all is whether this approach is beneficial to patients.

The answer to that must surely be no. It is not simply minor cases that are being ferried to hospital by taxi but some of the most serious. As such, this poses a number of elementary questions.

If it is because responders believe a taxi would reach the patient sooner than an ambulance, the question must be why that is the case. For a Trust anxious to improve its dismal record on response times, this course of action is hardly surprising but it is one that neither provides a level of service that patients should expect, nor offers value for money.

As such, it is the very definition of a false economy and one that must again raise pressing concerns about the region’s ambulance service. Today’s revelations are, after all, hardly likely to inspire confidence.

Olga’s funeral is a sign of the times

THE story of the fundraising effort to give grandmother-of-two Olga Schuman a decent send-off stirs conflicting emotions.

On the one hand, it’s touching that so many have answered her daughter Kelly Greene’s appeal for help after she was unable to raise the costs of the funeral herself.

On the other, there is surely something deeply wrong in the fact that not only do many face a struggle to get by when they’re alive, but their families can barely afford to give them the burial they deserve when they pass away.

If you wanted an example of what’s wrong in Britain today, this would be it.