August 28, 2008

South Wales ECHO WE SAY … : Fire Peril Needs to Be Tackled Urgently

IT doesn't seem long since Wales took delivery of its pounds 16m fleet of new ambulances, which were designed to slash response times and make the jobs of paramedics easier.

Now, little more than a year later, possible failures in the vehicles have emerged, with three engine fires reported inside a fortnight.

No patient expects nor wants to be ferried to hospital in an ambulance which might catch fire.

We need urgent action to identify the cause and extent of these problems, and the appropriate steps must be taken to restore public confidence in the safety of these vehicles.

It must also be asked why the remaining ambulances - so far unaffected by the problems - are to remain in service. The incidents reported to date have shocked us all, but thankfully nobody was hurt.

Next time, crew members and patients might not be as lucky.

ALL too often we hear stories about patients battling health authorities for drugs that could improve quality of life, or even save lives.

So today, it is refreshing to hear that thousands of patients have won that battle.

English patients suffering froma disease which causes blindness are to get a sight-saving drug - a drug which became available on the Welsh NHS this year following a hard-fought campaign.

We also hear of another medical success story; Penarth man Phil Rowlands who has helped Nice develop tests which could prevent people dying early of a heart attack.

Both stories will surely offer hope to many people.

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