Minister put on spot over Sheffield MP’s ambulance service fears

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Sheffield MP David Blunkett has put a junior health minister on the spot about procedures for ambulance staff.

The Labour politician, who represents Brightside and Hillsborough, quizzed Tory frontbencher Daniel Poulter about concerns over a lack of guidance on how to use new drugs.

He was also concerned about claims some ambulance service control rooms are texting paramedics as they respond to emergencies.

Mr Blunkett, a former Home Secretary, asked: “What guidance is issued to ambulance services on providing training to paramedics on new drugs before those drugs are brought into use?

“What guidance is issued on the use of text messages to pass information to fast response vehicles which are out on the road.”

Dr Poulter, a qualified medical doctor, said: “There is no departmental policy setting out protocol for ambulance staff to follow when attending to patients.

“It is the responsibility of employers of paramedics to keep their staff up to date on new developments relevant to their work, including the use of new drugs.

“This is a part of their continuing professional development.

“It is the responsibility of individual ambulance service providers to provide guidance and training on the usage of digital terminals.

“A majority of ambulance trusts do not send information to emergency staff via text, but use mobile data terminals.”