Two East Riding Conservative Councillors, who sit on the ERYC Cabinet and the East Riding Health and Wellbeing Board, have issued inaccurate statements to the press about the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) without first contacting the YAS or arranging a meeting with them to discuss the matter.
This has resulted in residents of Pocklington Provincial contacting me to raise their concerns after reading the statements in the Pocklington Post.
Statements – Cllr Owen and Cllr Evison
Conservative Cllr Jonathan Owen is the ERYC Deputy Leader whose responsibilities include health, is a Cabinet member and the East Riding Health and Wellbeing Board’s chairman.
Conservative Cllr Jane Evison, is the Portfolio Holder for Transforming Life which includes Health Service Liaison, is a Cabinet member and also sits on the East Riding Health and Wellbeing Board’s.
Cllr Owen said:
“Having been so supportive of providing this service to communities, I am amazed YAS are withdrawing their support for a service that must be perceived as a great life saving support to local communities when they haven’t the resource to respond rapidly in our rural areas through the normal 999 service. “We will use whatever means we can to raise concerns and ask them to re-consider as this must be a false economy.”
Cllr Evison added:
”It is difficult to understand how YAS can justify withdrawing a service to a rural community when response times are still not satisfactory. I am extremely disappointed that they wish to withdraw their support and pass the responsibility to often small parish councils and local communities.”
Statements – Yorkshire Ambulance Service
I have received the following statement from Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
“I just wanted to give some clarity around the media story which has emerged today about YAS’s supposed withdrawal of support for CPADs (community Public Access Defibrillators).
This is inaccurate and has been reported without context.
YAS is ceasing to continue to maintain 100 CPAD sites (provide pads and batteries) which were initially funded by YAS in rural communities in 2014. This initial project saw YAS generously gift £150,000 of equipment to 100 communities to kick start the CPAD project. Since then 1,300 further communities have funded and now maintain their own CPAD sites.
As YAS cannot possibly extend the maintenance to all 1,400 a decision was made to offer the original 100 communities ownership of their sites. Along with this came the offer of a brand new cabinet, 4-year battery and a set of electrodes free of charge, a total investment of around £60,000.
68% of sites have already agreed to take on ownership of their sites (at an average cost of £75 per year) and only 3% have so far declined the offer and we’re currently looking at alternative arrangements in those locations.
Two East Yorkshire Councillors have released a press statement expressing their concern at this decision without first contacting us or arranging a meeting to discuss the matter. This has resulted in the media picking up the story and reporting it out of context. Some reports have made it sound like we are withdrawing support for over 1,000 devices and this is simply not true.
YAS Community Resilience Team continue to provide support and guidance to all CPAD sites, we register the sites in Ambulance Control and manage the process of communicating with local guardians when one is activated so we can make it available as quickly as possible again. YAS has invested in a Community Defibrillator Coordinator to manage this vast administrative task as well as coordinating requests for familiarisation sessions. YAS works closely with local CFRs and charities who do as vast amount of fundraising, awareness raising and assisting with CPAD checking. The YAS Charity offers a funding package to local communities and YAS has taken on board the Save a Life app so the public can see where their nearest CPAD is in case of an emergency.
Rest assured the Community Resilience Team is committed to continuing to support the communities of Yorkshire and wholeheartedly thanks all 1,400 communities who have committed to helping provide this lifesaving treatment in their local area as well as everyone who is working hard to fund and install these.”
I have registered a formal complaint against Cllr Owen and Cllr Evision as they have conducted themselves in a manner that could reasonably be regarded as bringing their office or authority into disrepute.