Speeding fines spared for ambulances

Ambulance
drivers will no longer be issued with speeding fines when en-route to emergency
999 calls, reducing bureaucracy and freeing up staff to deal with more pressing
patient issues, health minister Rosie Winterton announced today.

The
current system has resulted in some Ambulance Trusts having to employ dedicated
staff to deal exclusively with the paperwork involved with speeding fines to
prove that ambulance vehicles were responding to emergencies.

The
Ambulance Service Association (ASA) estimates that this costs trusts up to £1m
a year.

The
Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) road division are sending a letter
out to all police forces today, which contains a new protocol for forces to
follow when dealing with speeding tickets issued by safety cameras to
ambulances and other emergency services.

The
protocol states that a fixed penalty notice can only be sent out to the
offending trust if, on inspection of the photograph, blue lights cannot be seen
flashing.

Richard
Diment, chief executive of the ASA, said: "We’re delighted that this
bureaucratic nightmare has been resolved. It will save the NHS a lot more time
and money, freeing up ambulance trust resources."

By Michael Millar

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