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"Alderney is the only place failing to invest in its ambulance service”

Tuesday 25 January 2022

"Alderney is the only place failing to invest in its ambulance service”

Tuesday 25 January 2022

The Island Medical Centre - which provides primary care in Alderney - has slammed the States of Alderney over their management of the island's beleaguered ambulance service.

It says the States of Alderney stand alone in the British Isles in failing to invest adequately in a safe and well-trained ambulance service.

It has also criticised the States for losing the services of the island’s only trained paramedic by making him work unreasonable hours for relatively low pay. 

And it has quashed rumours that its doctors have reached a deal to provide on-island support to the ambulance service while the States' committee responsible for the service - the General Services Committee - tries to put it on a more secure footing. 

Boyd Kelly Alderney Island Hall

Pictured: Boyd Kelly, Chairman of the General Services Committee, is leading the States of Alderney's response to the crisis which has hit the island's ambulance service. His Committee recently announced that it would make a series of improvements to funding and staffing of the service.

Much of the equipment used by Alderney's ambulance service and the way in which it is operated by the States have been criticised in two independent reviews. And the service is about to lose its senior professional, Clinical Support Office Al McLean, who handed in his notice after reportedly being on call every day for two years. 

The Island Medical Centre has worked closely with Mr McLean and has offered him its full support. 

“Al is one of the most valued clinicians to have ever worked on this island," said the Island Medical Centre.

"It is hard to believe that no attempt has been made to offer him improved pay and conditions, commensurate with his knowledge, skills and experience."

Many islanders have become increasingly concerned that Mr McLean's departure would leave an ambulance service staffed entirely by volunteers trained only to First Responder level. Such a 'scoop and drop' plan would have seen patients collected and taken directly to hospital with minimal medical help at the point of the emergency.

However, on Friday, following meetings with other States' members and ambulance service volunteers, the General Services Committee unveiled a package of measures which it hoped would reassure islanders and the medical community and secure the future of the service.

The Committee's announcements included pumping another £50,000 into the ambulance service each year - an increase of 70% - and securing temporary cover from St. John Ambulance in Guernsey while two paramedics are recruited to run the service on a more sustainable basis.

The Island Medical Centre, which serves around 2,000 registered patients, remains concerned about the future of the ambulance service. 


Pictured: The Island Medical Centre is situated in St Anne's. Its purpose-built facilities were constructed in 2015.

“An ambulance service, run by several paramedics and supported by crew with at least technician qualifications, is the norm in any UK jurisdiction," said the Island Medical Centre.

“Within the British Isles, Alderney is the only place that has failed to invest in the provision of a safe, well-trained ambulance service.”

In response to rumours that it had reached a deal to support the ambulance service, the Island Medical Centre said: “Our three GPs already work a 24/7/365 rota between them and there is currently no capacity to add this extra responsibility and workload.

“Of course, Island Medical Centre doctors will always provide an immediate response to life or death emergencies on island in support of the ambulance service as they have done for the past five years.”

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