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Tag ‘ambulance’

False alarm over 999 calls

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

 Ambulance shake-up “kills 12′ (Sunday Express, 7 January 2007 front page)
Two central issues are raising alarm …Secondly, for the first time ambulance teams have to take meal breaks of up to 45 minutes. These are ruled compulsory under EU law but are actually subject to local negotiation.  Before crews took breaks when and where they could during shifts so that they were always available for calls.

 Heart attack man dies as 999 crew take a rest break (Daily Mail, 6 January 2007 p.36)
Two ambulance crews were unavailable to help a dying man because they were on breaks laid down by European laws.  Under new rules to comply with health and safety and the European Working Time directives the two crews remained at th ir North London ambulance station despite receiving a 999 call…….Yesterday a London Ambulance Service spokesman admitted two crews were unable to attend because they were on “EU  rest breaks a the time of the call”.

 999 Crew on the way … after tea break (The Sun, 12 December 2006)
The European Working Time directive has come under fire for allegedly preventing ambulance crews from answering emergency call-outs during breaks.

A number of national newspapers got this one wrong by incorrectly saying that under the directive ambulance crews could not be interrupted during breaks.
In fact the Working Time Directive specifically permits breaks to be deferred in an emergency or even skipped altogether. The situation described was an issue for health service management or unions to address not a “Brussels diktat” as some commentators suggested.

St John Ambulance under EU threat

Friday, April 26th, 2002

Western Morning News, 26 April 2002, p 22
St John Ambulance is facing a financial crisis as a new European regulation will force them to replace their emergency vehicles within the next 18 months. … The introduction of the new EU directive will mean huge costs for the organisation as it attempts to comply with them, placing a huge financial burden on its resources.

There is no EU legislation that will force St John Ambulance or the National Health Service to replace their emergency vehicles. This was confirmed as long ago as 25 May 2000 by Gisela Stuart MP, the then junior health minister, in a written answer to Sir Teddy Taylor MP.

‘Following a period of consultation with manufacturers and users, two new European standards for ambulance vehicles and their equipment were recommended by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) in August and September (1999). Membership of CEN is wider than EU Member States and their recommendations have force only through the Public Procurement Legislative Programme. The object of this programme is to reduce technical barriers to trade throughout the European Free Trade Area. The British Standards Institute adopted the CEN recommendations as national standards in January 2000 but these will only apply to new ambulance vehicles and their equipment purchased after that date.’

999 services safe from EU e-mark interference

Wednesday, October 17th, 2001

European law – the e-mark (BBC South Today/BBC Southampton Online, 17 October 2001)
Every ambulance, every fire engine and every police car will become illegal next year, under an obscure European directive. It’s expected to cost the South’s emergency services millions of pounds. Every blue flashing light and every siren will have to carry a European e-mark. Almost none of them do. Without the marking, they’ll be illegal. The reason is a European directive designed to protect vehicle electrical systems from interference. It was written in 1995 and comes into effect next year. … It will affect millions of ordinary cars too. If you have fitted a CD player or hands-free phone kit, that too will be illegal without the e-mark.

This story dates back to the 1970s when the directive on electromagnetic compatibility requirements (EMC) was drawn up. A law dating back to 1995 required that from 1 October 2002 only vehicles with equipment meeting the EMC directive can be sold new or enter into service in the EU. This is nothing new because all new types of vehicles and components approved since 1996 have had to meet this standard.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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