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Speed warning to ambulance drivers

PUBLISHED: 09:37 05 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 06 July 2010

AMBULANCE drivers on their way to emergencies in Suffolk have been warned not to go more than 20mph over the speed limit.

The East of England Ambulance Service claims this is an internal policy aimed at managing road risk and the safety of the public and say that anyone who goes against the guidance will be given further training or advice.

AMBULANCE drivers on their way to emergencies in Suffolk have been warned not to go more than 20mph over the speed limit.

The East of England Ambulance Service claims this is an internal policy aimed at managing road risk and the safety of the public and say that anyone who goes against the guidance will be given further training or advice.

Since the policy was introduced in January, there have not been any dismissals or disciplinary action in relation to the new guidance.

When a driver receives a notice of intended prosecution after speeding, the Trust reviews whether the use of speed was appropriate in the situation, taking into account the nature of the call and the conditions of the road. In some circumstances the staff member may receive advice and/or extra training.

John Gummer, Suffolk Coastal MP, said: “The reality is it is up to the ambulance driver to make a proper judgement in the circumstances. If the ambulance driver is on a totally clear road at 1am, it is up to the driver if he goes faster.”

David Powell, the NHS lead for union GMB in the Eastern region, added: “It makes sense to put a limit on it.”

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “Ambulance crews receive extensive training on driving under emergency conditions, and when responding to an emergency call ambulance vehicles are able to claim certain exemptions within the Road Traffic Regulations Act, including the use of speed.

“In line with the other emergency services, however, the East of England Ambulance Service advises a maximum speed for ambulance vehicles, at 20 mph over the speed limit for a given area to protect the public and reduce road risk.

“Ambulance crews are required to ensure their speed is always safe and appropriate to the situation and cases are dealt with individually. Extra training or advice may be offered but dismissal is not an action we would ordinarily take and anticipate that advice, training and management monitoring would ensure it is never necessary.”

In 2004 ambulance drivers were exempted from penalties resulting from being caught by speed cameras.

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