Common sense, common decency…

When is an ambulance not an ambulance? Apparently it’s when the police decide it’s not an emergency vehicle, even if it’s doing an emergency service…


An ambulance driver has been fined and had points put on his licence – after speeding to save a child’s life.
Andy Thomson was taking a child’s liver for an emergency transplant operation in Leeds when he was caught doing 84mph on the A1 in Scotland.
The father-of-three had expected to be let off because of his job but he was given a £60 fine and three points on his licence.
He had been driving a private ambulance – but, despite working for the NHS, he says police did not recognise his as an emergency vehicle.
And now the driver has spoken of his outrage at the decision of Haddington Sheriff Court in East Lothian.
Andy, 46, from Blyth, Northumberland, said: ‘I think it’s an absolute disgrace.
‘We’re now going to have to switch off our blue lights and go through that stretch at 70mph even if it is an emergency.
‘That is going to cost somebody their life if there’s too much delay on one of these organs,’ said Andy, who was driving a private ambulance for Lifeline Medical Transport Services.
The company were told private ambulances don’t fall under Lothian and Borders Police’s definition of an emergency vehicle.

Yes it was a private ambulance, however the use it was being put too ” taking a child’s liver for an emergency transplant operation in Leeds” strikes me as being applicable under S.87 RTA (Part VI)– Exemption of fire brigade, ambulance and police vehicles from speed limits. S.No statutory provision imposing a speed limit on motor vehicles shall apply to any vehicle on an occasion when it is being used for fire brigade, ambulance or police purposes [F1or for or in connection with the exercise of any function of a relevant authority (as defined in section 6 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (asp 5))], if the observance of that provision would be likely to hinder the use of the vehicle for the purpose for which it is being used on that occasion. Doesn’t define ‘ambulance’ as being private or not. Seems as if the discretion is down to the Procurator Fiscal (Scotland) on the advice of the Borders Police who decided that money trumps an emergency when the vehicle is a private ambulance doing an emergency service (organ transplant run).

Again and again legislation is being used in a manner for which it clearly not designed and common sense would suggest it not be used.

Once upon a time a police officer would have used his discretion had he seen a vehicle speeding, particularly one marked ambulance. Then local authorities “discovered” cash cows speed cameras and all of a sudden discretion and common sense along with decency went out of the window.

The procurator fiscal and the Borders Police may just have placed someone’s life on the line with their actions, I hope they’re proud of themselves.

10 comments for “Common sense, common decency…

  1. nisakiman
    April 28, 2012 at 7:05 am

    Brainless jobsworths. They wouldn’t know common sense if it came up and barked in their collective face. Twats.

  2. Brian, follower of Deornoth
    April 28, 2012 at 7:33 am

    It wasn’t a National Health Service ambulance.

    Far better that the child dies than his transplant organs be transported in an ideologically unsound manner.

  3. April 28, 2012 at 8:53 am

    If nothing else, the PCism exposed on various blogs really needs to be collated and kept as a record of the idiocy this country and in fact, the whole world, fell into during this less than golden epoch. I twill make great reading 100 years from now.

  4. Jim
    April 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

    What Brian FoD said. Ultimate proof that in the eyes of the State, no private enterprise can be considered ‘good’. If it had been a NHS ambulance this wouldn’t have got further than the waste paper basket in the camera processing room. But a private company/individual by definition must be ‘up to no good’ so must be punished.

    • Tattyfalarr
      April 29, 2012 at 3:07 am

      Pretty much my thoughts right there. How very dare those bloody citizens pick and choose who to receive their “services” from. Cheeky bastards must be taught a lesson.

  5. john in cheshire
    April 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Until about 5 or so years ago, when I read an article such as this, my initial reaction would be that it is sensationalising a situation and therefore I mustn’t rush to judgement before seeing all the evidence. I suggest that there has been a great change, if I am typical, in the way we react to such matters now. We have been lied to and deceived and manipulated so much that my first reaction now is to believe the worst in people and regard such reports (not in MSM, I hasten to add) as being factually correct. This construction of a nation fuelled by the worst human traits colours my perception of everyone who inhabits a position of some form of authority, from traffic warden to Law Lord, in that I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole and I wouldn’t trust them for anything. I despise them for doing that to me.

  6. April 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    A long shot here, but there’s an angle that hasn’t been mentioned; an English ambulance driver, speeding on a Scottish road while on his way to an English hospital.

    Now I’d be the last person to foment cross-border hostility, but friends and relatives have reported a growing anti-English groundswell in the way NHS and local authority staff treat the English in Southern Scotland.

    As for cross-border cooperation, where once joint operations were coordinated by telephone between the forces on each side of the Tweed, separation is now the order of the day – so much so that, when Raoul Moat was on the run within a few miles of the border and a manhunt in full swing, complete with photos and a call for vigilance, Lothian and Borders Police website’s front page was concerned only with forged tickets for a pop festival.

    Ambulances are, as it happens, a particularly thorny issue; however urgent the call, thanks to demarcation, they no longer cross the border as they once did. Casualties in the Northumbrian village of Carham must wait 22 minutes or more for an English ambulance from Berwick rather than having one sent one from Kelso, 6 miles up the road, which might explain why exemptions are deemed to apply only to Scottish ambulances.

    This may, of course, be a red herring, but with Alex Salmond & Co in full cry at the moment, I’m inclined to think it may be at least as likely a cause as a public/private sector conflict.

  7. April 29, 2012 at 3:20 am

    I don’t know about Scottish law but some decades ago Fenton Breslaw (sp?) then the legal correspondant at The Telegraph highlighted a similar case about a man driving his pregnant wife to hospital.
    He berated the man for accepting a speeding ticket and pointed out the law which made “any vehicle acting in an ambulatory capacity” exempt from speed restrictions.
    An example of this was my local taxi company whose drivers told me that they used to drive “at high speed” carrying X-rays of head-injuries to a neurosurgery dept some 40 miles away. As a courtesy they would usually inform the Police Highways dept and they were never troubled by them (the Internet has now made this practise redundant for X-rays but not, presumably, for body parts).

  8. April 29, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Here we go (didn’t think I would find this more recent reference)

    By Fenton Bresler
    12:00AM BST 27 Apr 2002
    “Years ago, my old friend Sir Stirling Moss got a parking summons while collecting his wife and newborn baby from a London hospital. He claimed he was using his car as an ambulance – and got the case thrown out.” 😛

  9. Mudplugger
    April 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

    This is just another marker on the path we have taken from ‘doing anything unless it is illegal’ to ‘needing permission before we do anything’.

    In times gone by, such a speeding act would have been regarded as a non-offence due to the circumstances under which it occurred. However, since the removal of all discretion from state employees, replaced with their new task of merely implementing the diktats of committees, aided and abetted by inanimate devices such as speed-cameras and CCTV, if the act is not positively permitted by ‘the committee’, then it must be illegal.

    The individual state employees go along with this because it absolves them of any responsibility for taking decisions, they are merely implementers of the decisions of others. And even those ‘others’ are not acting as individuals, they cower under the cloak of the ‘committee’ to establish and protect their own personal immunity, “Not me, guv, it was The Committee what decided it”.

    Such is the long slippery-slope of committee-based nannyism which we have proved powerless to resist.

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