Kent Ambulances may be able to drive at more than 100mph on Kent’s major roads.
The South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) are proposing a change to the speeds ambulances can travel at on call outs.
The rules before stated that paramedics could travel at 20mph over the limit of the area, but now the proposed regulations state they can travel at 50% of the area limit over the limit.
Before in a 30mph zone they could travel at 50mph whereas, they can now potentially do 45mph.
However, on motorways and A roads they can travel at 105mph instead of 90mph.
A SECAmb paramedic who wants to remain anonymous has recently taken his blue light training under the regulations.
Listen to the full interview here.
Interview with anonymous paramedic about ambulance speed changes
He said: “It sounds like it’s more, but in some examples it’s actually less.
“More fatalities happen on A roads. The additional speed we will now go at won’t make a difference.
“We are trained to drive in a safe way that’s progressive, we can just use a bit more speed where necessary.”
These changes come amid quota changes for certain response times.
Category one incidents such as cardiac arrests, imminent births or severe car crashes required the first respondents to be on the scene in eight minutes.
The new guidelines expect them to be there within seven minutes.
The paramedic said: “They are trying to push to meet the objectives better at the moment and is why they’re making the change.”
“In Canterbury you wont get up to 45 mph. We’re trained to be careful in traffic.
“They sometimes change the goal posts of what we are meant to meet depending on what the people at the top are trying to impose.”
He also specified the importance that safety has when they drive.
He said: “Just because the times have changed from eight to seven minutes doesn’t mean ambulances are going to drive more recklessly
“We drive the same way to a person having a cardiac arrest on blue lights, the same way if someone’s having a heart attack, an asthma attack or someone who’s giving birth.”
A SECAmb ambulance driving through Canterbury city centre through the traffic.
Credit: Ambulances, Fire Engine & Police Responding – City of Canterbury
SECAmb Unison represent the interest of the services’ paramedics.
Spokesman Nigel Sweet said:” The decision was brought up at various meetings after the recommendation from experts in the driving standards department.
“No one would risk safety to hit response times.
“There is no point going to an incident and having an accident.
A SECAmb spokesperson said: “Our driving policy is currently under review and we are working closely with our staff and unions as part of this process.
“Our ambulance crews are trained to drive safely to the conditions that present on the road.
“It should be noted that any member of staff is expected to use their discretion when using emergency exemptions and when driving using blue lights.”
Brake the road safety charity were also contacted but did not reply.