Rick Player, director of the Independent Ambulance Association (IAA), has exclusively told Access and sister magazine Exhibition News that a proposed bill would likely push deaths at events per year into the double digits.
“I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but the effect [that the bill] will have is that people will die as a result of it,” he said.
Section 36 of the proposed Deregulation Bill – which has now progressed to the House of Lords – states that emergency ambulance services from private providers will be limited to the “request of an NHS ambulance service”.
In plain terms, private emergency providers would not be able to transport patients from events to hospitals without the explicit request from the NHS.
The IAA is protesting the wording of the bill, and claims that it represents stealth legislation.
“The Association was supposed to have been informed of when [the bill] was going through Parliament, and we never were,” Player said. “All we’re asking is that the wording is changed from ‘at the request of a NHS ambulance service’ to ‘at the request of a NHS ambulance service or a CQC-registered ambulance service company’.”
CQC, or Care Quality Commission, regulates the emergency transport of the sick and injured in both the public and private sectors. All members of the IAA are registered with the CQC.
The bill could potentially be passed as soon as 16 February, so the IAA is pushing for urgent revision of the language used.
Oliver Letwin MP is the bill’s sponsor. Access and EN have reached out to Letwin for comment and will update upon his response.
Events industry responds
Paul Reed of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) called the proposed legislation in its current form “deeply illogical and potentially dangerous.
“We are struggling to understanding the reasoning behind this law or why it’s being done,” he said. “It will affect the entire events industry. We are dependent on working with those [private] providers and have long-standing relationships with them. It’s only going to put more strain on the NHS.”
For more on this exclusive story, pick up the March issues of Access All Areas and Exhibition News.