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Slow down!!
#1
A dedicated volunteer with the ambulance service has been sacked for breaking the speed limit during an emergency call-out.

Godfrey Smith, who has been a ‘first responder’ for 15 years, was sent to help a man in July, but bosses who later examined his ambulance’s sat-nav sacked him when it revealed he drove at 33mph in a 20mph zone.

Although Mr Smith drives a marked ambulance and provides life-saving care prior to the arrival of overstretched NHS paramedics, as a volunteer first responder he does not have the same rights to break road laws as fully-fledged ambulance drivers.


In shock: Volunteer Community First Responder Godfrey Smith had his services dispensed with by South Central Ambulance Service for driving 33mph in a 20mph zone

Saving lives: Mr Smith doesn't deny speeding down an Oxford shopping street but says he was responding to an urgent patient call
Yesterday the 64-year-old said: ‘I’m absolutely devastated. My life has revolved around volunteering and helping people when they most need it.

‘It is soul-destroying being told I can no longer do it. I feel like my heart has been ripped out.’

He was called by controllers on July 23 and sent to the St Clement’s area of Oxford to give emergency treatment to a man who had collapsed with breathing problems.

He jumped into his marked South Central Ambulance Service Land Rover to rush to the address, however, following a complaint, he was dismissed for ‘breaching road traffic law’.

Bosses who investigated the incident found data on Mr Smith’s satellite navigation system which showed he was travelling at 13mph faster than he should have done down a high street. He was also criticised for going to the right of a ‘keep left’ bollard.

But Mr Smith said the sat-nav did not pick up that the road was a new 20mph zone and was still showing a 30mph limit, and that he drove around the bollard to get past traffic.

He added: ‘If I thought it was dangerous, I wouldn’t have done it. There was no traffic coming the other way; the lights were on red.’Mr Smith received a letter last week notifying him of the ambulance service’s decision.


Extenuating circumstances: Mr Smith received an urgent call and drove too quickly down High Street and Longwall Street, pictured, in Oxford. He also drove around a bollard to get ahead of traffic
He said: ‘There was no thanks whatsoever for my 15 years of service. I do not condone speeding but the punishment is brutal.

‘This has hit me harder than the death of my own parents. The ambulance service has broken my heart. I have shed tears over this. It meant everything.’

The decision to dismiss him comes just three months after the same ambulance service issued an urgent plea for volunteers after its number of drivers dropped from 45 to 28.

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said at the time that the county needed 90 extra ambulances to meet life-saving response times targets.

During his time as a volunteer first responder, Mr Smith attended more than 2,000 call-outs and saved numerous lives, calling it the ‘most rewarding thing you can do’.

He added: ‘If there is even a slim chance of saving someone then I am there – at least they will have a chance. I get people coming up to me in the street saying “you saved my child”, or “you helped my mum.” ’

Several hundred people in the Oxford area have now signed a petition calling for Mr Smith to be reinstated.

One man whose life was saved by Mr Smith condemned the decision to sack him. Father-of-two David Hatton, who was treated by Mr Smith in 2007 when he suffered a massive heart attack at home, said yesterday: ‘It is very petty. If it was not for Gof I would not be walking around today and my children would not have a father.’


Support: At least 60 people have signed a petition supporting the sacked man since Monday
Mr Smith’s son, performing arts student Matthew, 19, who also worked as a first responder, has now resigned in support of his father.

He said: ‘I had to stand by my father. He has dedicated a large part of his life to the service and I know it would be difficult for him.

‘As well as his job, he would do at least 20 hours a week volunteer work with the service, and most of it was overnight. He has spent most Christmases and New Year’s Eves going out to emergencies. I can’t even tell you the last time I spent a New Year’s Eve with my father, as he has always been out on calls.’

Ambulance drivers employed by the trust have to get to 75 per cent of most serious calls in eight minutes, and the latest figures, for July, show it hit 84 per cent of its target in Oxfordshire.

A spokesman for campaign group Patient Concern said: ‘We think it’s outrageous. The priority is saving lives rather than complying with road regulations.’

A letter to Mr Smith from the trust said: ‘It is felt that your standard of driving on this occasion fell far below that required of someone driving a SCAS marked vehicle.’

SCAS refused to comment on Mr Smith’s case.
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#2
Hope the complainant is happy with themselves
Often the sheep do not like the sheepdog,  until the wolf comes.  Then the sheep try to hide behind the sheepdog, begging for his protection.
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#3
check out the below comment Mirror link (Yep Mirror etc...)

I Work for SCAS and have knowledge of this case.

This man has had a string of complaints against him, he is very vindictive and has ensured that several volunteers and front line crews have been disciplined and sacked over the years. He has also ensured that ultimately patients have suffered due to other incidents he has caused and been involved in. He has a huge chip in his shoulder and has been a thorn in the side of SCAS for many years. He was however dealt with in accordance with SCAS policy and was given (far too many) numerous chances.

Rule 16.2.1 - Basic Volunteer Responders are subject to Trust investigations and services can be terminated as an option. However, the Trust should investigate any complaint in a fair manner and if the basic Volunteer Responder is not happy with the way the investigation has been handled, they are entitled to appeal in line with the problem solving procedures laid out in the Volunteer policy.

SCAS are a nightmare when it comes to disciplining and fire incompetent staff. People are given 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th last chances to change their behaviour. Mr Smith was given ample opportunities over the years to correct his shortfalls, which he didn't. The driving offences were the last straw when 2 separate members of the public reported him.

Mr Smith think he is a paramedic when in fact he has completed a 2 day first aid course. He is not any way close to being a paramedic. He has been taught very simple and basic first aid. He cannot prescribe drugs, give injections, perform any procedures or do anything in addition to a First Aid at Work course other that give a patient Oxygen! Very rarely are '999' calls truly life threatening, this is demonstrated by the fact he is quoted saying he saved 6 lives in 15 yrs.

To address the marked vehicle issue, he helped to raise money to purchase a vehicle on behalf of SCAS which they (stupidly) decided to 'mark up' thus giving the impression that it is a front line ambulance when it isn't. NO CFR HAS BEEN BLUE LIGHT TRAINED BY SCAS. As a result they have absolutely no exemptions of the Road Traffic Act! Mr Smith acted illegally, there is no way to change this, he broke the law.

As for his offence of being just over the speed limit, he was 65% over what it should have been, jumped a red light and then went right at a keep left sign. This means he is uninsured and is acting illegally. Had he been spotted by the police he would have committed 3 separate offences and more than likely had his licence endorsed with numerous penalty points or even lost it completely due to reckless or dangerous driving. This is not open to debate this if fact. CFRs are told VERY clearly that under no circumstances are they to break the law. They sign an agreement to this effect; breaking of this agreement means their services are no longer required and they will not be employed as a volunteer with SCAS again. He signed up to this and then complains when he suffers the consequences of his illegal actions. The rules he signed up for are here (w w w .southcentralambulance.nhs.uk/_assets/documents/cfr/volunteer%20responders%20governance%20framework.doc)

Rule 15.2.3 - Volunteer Responders must operate and comply within the conventions of the Road Traffic Act and have no exemption for driving under emergency conditions.

Rule 15.2.10 - There may be on occasions when en-route to an incident, traffic congestion and the action of other road users will increase stress and anxiety. Volunteers must learn to recognise this natural heightened response of the body and maintain control of their actions.

Rule 15.2.13 - The basic Volunteer Responder proceeds to the incident address at normal road speed obeying speed limits in accordance with the current Road Traffic Act and the Highway Code. No exemptions are available for community first responders.

Just to make this clear, Mr Smith is a volunteer, he does not receive a penny for his services and does this out of the goodness of his own heart. This does NOT mean he can make the rules up to suit himself. If he was involved in an accident, all CFRs would be stopped from driving until an investigation had taken place. This wont be complete in a day or 2 this would likely take weeks (remember the Ambulance Service is stretched for manning) which means in that time no CFRs would be able to deploy. SCAS has literally hundreds of volunteers who answer '999' calls which accounts for around 4 of ALL '999' calls. This would have meant for that month or so for an investigation that approx 1000 '999' calls would not be answered. Assuming that only 1% were life threatening that is 10 people who could potentially die! How innocent does Mr Smiths actions look now. There are further effects to his actions that those not in the know won't appreciate. He is not greater than the full CFR scheme, he is a bad egg then he has no place on the scheme. He will not be missed by any of the front line crews!

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fir...z38h1OGJc1
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The best gift you can give to someone is your time, because you are giving them something you can never get back.
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#4
Jesus, he didn't hold back.
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#5
There's always two sides to every story
Sorry but HOW many copies of this do you want????
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#6
50 in a 30kmh zone is still slow and reasonable I think.

And complaints don't mean guilty, people need to realise that
Often the sheep do not like the sheepdog,  until the wolf comes.  Then the sheep try to hide behind the sheepdog, begging for his protection.
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#7
Say there is more to this than the isolated case listed and that's it's just the way of getting him
The man who never made a mistake never made anything!
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#8
Yeah, I imagine that he is a bit on the Walter Mitty side of things
"Private Number Calling" - As if im going to answer that!!!
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#9
He could always come here and drive the "volunteers" ambulance!!
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#10
I seen this case earlier in the year and not sure why it resurfaced. He is a CFR and the paper is making out he is frontline and responding to every call.

Sounds like he may be right to join the cancer ambulance alright Columbo
The man who never made a mistake never made anything!
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#11
I think fair play to the person that wrote the follow up comment. Fook it, say it like it is.......there should be more people like that person.

Two sides to every story.
It's not the HSE's opinion, it's not managements opinion, it's mine. All mine.
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#12
Definitely two sides to every story but the reply is a bit puritanical though, isn't it.
The guy might be a gobshite, he might be a total Walt but self righteous indignation at what seems to be a fairly innocuous breach of road traffic regs.
The last paragraph is plain silly. Blaming the man for any decision that could have been made about reducing the level of cover available is just daft.
And to be fair if it's true that he saved six life's over 15 years, that's a pretty decent average if you ask me and not bad for a volunteer at all.

The guy probably was a pain in the hole, but Jesus have the decency to address the issue instead of using some spurious half baked gripe to dismiss him.
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#13
(27-07-2014, 09:46 PM)ERU Wrote: 50 in a 30kmh zone is still slow and reasonable I think.

And complaints don't mean guilty, people need to realise that
[/amquote
20 kph on a main street dangerous enough almost twice the limit

For some reason I see the dude flying down a busy street veering out around a bollard and then onwards
He who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before  
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#14
You can't argue with a dash cam! He should have had one.
Using Tapatalk
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#15
(29-07-2014, 05:03 PM)Panda Wrote:
(27-07-2014, 09:46 PM)ERU Wrote: 50 in a 30kmh zone is still slow and reasonable I think.

And complaints don't mean guilty, people need to realise that
[/amquote
20 kph on a main street dangerous enough almost twice the limit

For some reason I see the dude flying down a busy street veering out around a bollard and then onwards
So do I but that's the way is written. Think about it, he was doing the limit in an estate. He was doing a speed most people would break just going to work or at college green.
Often the sheep do not like the sheepdog,  until the wolf comes.  Then the sheep try to hide behind the sheepdog, begging for his protection.
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#16
Aye but on a shopping street I dunno I see your point I'm betting he knows deep down how wrong he was
He who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before  
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