Search

Thousands spent on Suffolk firefighters rescuing obese people

06 June, 2018 - 14:50
Firefighters are called to help rescue obese patients Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Firefighters are called to help rescue obese patients Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Thousands of pounds have been spent on firefighters helping to move obese people in Suffolk over five years.

Figures from the Home Office show Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service attended 69 callouts for bariatric assistance – helping ambulance crews to move overweight patients – between April 2012 and March 2017.

While they represent a small portion of the brigade’s 4,000 non-fire incidents, the majority of callouts took more than one hour to resolve. Of those, 10 incidents were more than four hours long.

Firefighters carry lifting equipment and special slings to transport people, and can remove windows, walls and banisters.

Freedom of information requests to some fire and rescue services have shown the average cost of a callout is £400. For some non-emergency cases, services have been able to recover costs since legislation was put in place in 2004.

Bariatric assistance callouts have become more common in recent years, with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service recording 25 incidents in 2016/17. In 2012/13, there were just eight.

Across England, fire and rescue services attended 851 bariatric assistance cases in 2016/17 – a 98% increase on five years previously.

A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said these 69 incidents represented less than 0.01% of the 27,000 calls it attended over the five-year period.

He added: “We continue to work closely with our colleagues in the ambulance service to provide the best possible service for Suffolk residents, and helping out vulnerable patients, including those who are bariatric, is an important part of that partnership working.”

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said the trust had a duty to ensure to it had the resources required to help all patients.

He added: “A lot of time is dedicated in our service to how we can improve patient experience for groups of people with all kinds of accessibility needs, allowing us to be as responsive and patient-driven as we can be.”

Unison’s national ambulance officer, Alan Lofthouse, said judgement on whether bariatric assistance was required was made by crews on a case-by-case basis.

He said: “Obesity can be a real issue for ambulance staff trying to help critically ill patients.

“Ambulance equipment has a safe working load, and pushing the limit puts patients and staff at risk.

“In an emergency a paramedic has to make a judgment call on how best to help an obese patient, and in some instances this means calling for assistance from other services.”

Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, which aims to raise awareness of obesity in the country, called the data “truly shocking”.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sudbury Mercury visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sudbury Mercury staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sudbury Mercury account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other popular content

4 minutes ago

Campaigners who raised £130,000 to restore bells at a Suffolk church have hailed a “momentous day” in the project following their installation.

15 minutes ago

Jurors have been sworn in for the trial of three people accused of murdering a 56-year-old Colchester man.

16 minutes ago

The only way is up for Tess Bell who has become an official supplier of hit TV show The Only Way is Essex just a year after starting her own events business.

40 minutes ago

Police are “keeping an open mind” as the investigation into the disappearance of a swimmer continues.

Show Job Lists

Local weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 5°C

Newsletter Sign Up

Sudbury Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24