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Fire & Ambulance Services Understaffed

Jersey's ambulance and fire services are being hindered by staff shortages and a lack of resources, two independent reviews have found.

The inspections were conducted last year, and the findings made public today (3 November)

Both reviews highlight staffing issues.

Inspectors found the Ambulance Service  - which responded to 10,000 emergency calls in 2021 - can no longer meet demand, meaning longer response times and increased reliance on staff working overtime and agency staff.

That contributes to significant overspends, which had risen to more than £420,000 by last December.

A separate peer review of Jersey Fire & Rescue Service has found it should have more whole-time firefighters, saying officers are ‘spreading themselves too thinly.’

Deputy Helen Miles, Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, says the reviews underlined issues they know need addressing.

"I am very confident in the leadership of both services.  In fact, it was the leaders of both services that invited the reviewers to come in and worked together with them on the areas that we needed to work on first.

So there weren't any surprises in the review, and we know what we needed to do.

I am very confident the leaders know what good looks like, and that we have got firm plans in place to take the recommendations forward."

The reviews call for sustainable funding for the emergency services. 

Ministers are proposing the allocation of £9.5 million to maintaining and improving services over the next four years.

The Ambulance Service will receive £1 million to £1.2 million per annum and £500,000 will be given to the Fire & Rescue Service each year until 2025 and 2026, when they will also be granted £1.2 million

“It is important that we get this right and it's important that we identify where there are gaps in funding, and that is really just what we have done." - Deputy Miles.


The funding allocations in the Government Plan will be debated by the States Assembly next month. 

Both reports praised the dedication, professionalism and commitment of staff, and the standard of vehicles and equipment.

Chief Ambulance Officer, Pete Gavey has described the findings as fair and generally positive:

I’m especially pleased with the comments regarding staff dedication and passion. I can attest to this, and I’m made proud daily by my staff’s tenacity and hard work, particularly over the last two years of the pandemic.

We are committed to providing the best possible service for islanders, and a working group has already formed and actioned a number of points to address the suggestions.”

Chief Fire Officer, Paul Brown had a similar response:

 “I acknowledge the recommendations in the review and have a clear plan to address the challenges ahead and have been working with government since before the peer review to secure investment, through the Government Plan, to enable it.

I’m delighted that the dedication and commitment of my team has been recognised and I’m extremely proud to lead them going forward as we continue to work on the recommendations and deliver our prevention and emergency response service to protect our community.”

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