Alderney's General Services Committee is to pump more public money into the island's beleaguered ambulance service.
The additional investment is part of a package of measures announced by the Committee as it seeks to protect islanders' healthcare following critical reports into the ambulance service and the resignation of a key and popular member of staff.
Earlier this week, Express reported on the challenges faced by the ambulance service over several years. Two independent reports have been critical of equipment and the way in which the service operates. And Al McLean, the highly regarded Clinical Support Officer, said recently that he would leave his post soon. He is currently the only trained paramedic at the service.
In response, the States' General Services Committee is now pledging to increase the budget of the ambulance service by 70% - from around £70,000 to around £120,000 a year.
Pictured: Boyd Kelly is the Chairman of the General Services Committee, which is trying to put Alderney's ambulance service on a more stable and sustainable footing after years of difficulties.
However, the Committee has not yet identified how to fund the additional expenditure. It said it would now be necessary to "explore the financing options to pay for the upgraded service and...engage with the community to seek the public’s views".
The Committee also reached agreement with St. John Ambulance Guernsey to provide cover in Alderney during February while it tries to recruit two paramedics to replace the existing single paramedic post.
And it says "agreement in principle has been reached with the Island Medical Centre and the island's chemist regarding medical and pharmaceutical governance of the [ambulance] service".
Pictured: “St. John Ambulance Guernsey is providing cover during February following the resignation of paramedic Al McLean,” said the General Services Committee.
The most-recent independent report into Alderney's ambulance service was carried out by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.
The Association's recommendations included creating a second paramedic post to provide the island with adequate medical cover at all times without making unreasonable demands on staff. Mr McLean is said to have been on call all day every day for the past two years. He plans to leave his post by the end of January.
The Committee says it accepted all the recommendations in the independent report before announcing its latest plans to stabilise and then improve the service.
"The money is allocated in addition to the existing budget of £71,000 previously agreed to meet the operating costs of running the service and will be used to provide suitable medical and pharmaceutical governance and create two paramedic positions to work with the 11 volunteers," said the Committee.
“A number of UK paramedics have already expressed an interest in coming to Alderney on six-month secondments and the first three of six prospective candidates are scheduled to visit the island in the next few weeks,” said the Committee."
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