Ambulance Seatbelts. Fact or Fiction
It has been noted and commented on that a certain level of doubt exists regarding what is Fact and what is Fiction with regard to the safe conveyance of persons on our ambulances.
Just using the lap straps to secure a patient on the stretcher is acceptable:
Fiction. The harness system is integral to the stretcher and is included in its certificate of compliance to current regulations. The harness and shoulder straps must be used to provide security to the patient unless their use would worsen the patient’s condition or prevent delivery of essential medical treatment. The shoulder straps are designed to prevent the patient from torpedoing head first if the ambulance makes a sudden stop or is involved in a crash situation. If you make the decision NOT to employ the full harness system on a patient, you must document the fact and also the rationale for not employing the full harness on the patient PRF / ePRF before leaving scene.
All seated patients carried on ambulances MUST be made to wear a seatbelt:
Fiction. If a patient has a letter or card signed by their GP which exempts them from wearing a vehicle seatbelt, then they cannot be made to wear one. The Driver Training Unit was consulted with over this matter.
Side facing seats must be turned to face forwards and seatbelts must be worn when the ambulance is in motion:
FACT. The risk assessment for travelling in the rear of the 999 ambulances requires the side seats to be rotated to face forward and for the user to wear the 3-point seatbelt. If the person has an exemption referred to above, they do not have to wear the seatbelt but the seat MUST still face forwards.
East of England Ambulance Unison
Branch Health & Safety Officer