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Inaccuracies in reporting on paramedics

I MUST draw your attention to inaccuracies and inconsistencies in your article and editorial comment of July 27 dealing with the issue of Ambulance Service proposals for efficiency savings.

In your editorial, you stated that there are two paramedics in an emergency ambulance crew, one of whom will be replaced by a "lesser-trained professional" as a result of this proposal. This is factually incorrect.

The proposal maintains and supports the current model of one paramedic per emergency ambulance, supported by a trained, but not professionally regulated, ambulance officer.

The changes associated with the proposals are in the order of £495,000 per year, potentially rising to £1.6m per year over a 15-year period – not £1.6m over 15 years, as outlined in your editorial.

Your assertion that lives could be put at risk by this proposal is based on the factually inaccurate premise that there will be fewer paramedics as result of this proposal.

Within the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service we are very well aware of the requirements in relation to responding to multi-casualty incidents.

We have systems in place whereby we identify such incidents as quickly as possible and tailor the response with additional resources based on the presumed number of casualties requiring treatment and transport to hospital.

These systems have been demonstrated as effective through our responses to such incidents in the past and we are committed to maintaining and developing them in the future.

LIAM McIVOR

Chief executive, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service HSC Trust

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