YEP Says, September 28: Our 999 service must not be a charity case

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EVEN THOUGH relations between Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the unions have been strained for many years, it would be remiss of management to downplay the latest concerns about staff shortages.

Not only are St John Ambulance being used to respond to some emergencies, but there are now occasions when paramedics are not sent to ‘life and death’ incidents.

This cannot be right. For, while it is important that ambulances work with charities, particularly over the provision of medical cover at spectator events, there is a world of difference between basic first aid and those incidents which are so serious that the patients concerned require lifesaving treatment.

Like those hospitals which are increasingly dependent upon agency workers because they do not have sufficient qualified staff to meet current workloads, the onus is on ambulance chiefs to make sure they have sufficient staff on duty with the requisite qualifications – the emergency services should not be charity cases. Equally response times and so on will not improve unless the unions work constructively with Yorkshire Ambulance Service to reconcile their differences. If this does not happen, the people who will suffer most of all are the patients – the very people to whom this much-troubled organisation should be assisting.

Lizzie Armitstead honours Beryl Burton

FIVE decades after the pioneering Beryl Burton, one of the all-time greats of Leeds sport, became the first British woman to become the world cycling champion, how apt that another indefatigable Yorkshirewoman – Lizzie Armitstead – has the honour of wearing the cherished rainbow jersey after the Otley-born rider held her nerve to win the UCI World Road Championships in America.

Though cycling is now very different to the 1960s – it is now a mass participation sport thanks to the unprecedented success of UK riders in recent years.

Having honoured Burton’s legacy, Armistead can eclipse her Yorkshire heroine by winning gold at next year’s Olympics. We wish her well on the road to Rio – she is the rider that the rest of the world now have to beat.