UK Dispatchers Get Bonuses for Not Sending Ambulances
BRITAIN'S largest ambulance service is paying staff bonuses - for refusing to dispatch ambulances.
Control room workers will each receive £250 if the service dramatically reduces the number of ambulances sent to 999 calls.
Staff are being ordered to divert callers to a GP, NHS Direct or other medical services.
An angry paramedic, who asked not to be named, said: "Bonuses mean staff might be tempted to divert a genuine caller."
And the Patients Association said: "The only criteria for the use of an ambulance should be the extent of the medical emergency, not the impact on the pocket of the call handler."
It is understood that control room staff at London Ambulance Service will get the bonus if 30 per cent of 999 calls this year are referred to other services.
LAS is failing to meet national targets for responding to 999 emergencies and bosses admit it can't cope with the demand.
The bonus scheme has been defended by LAS director Paul Woodrow, who said: "We are incredibly busy and need to ensure that we have enough ambulances for our most seriously ill and injured patients. People who call 999 for minor things like coughs and colds won't be sent one."
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