Brian Bendle was standing in shallow water, about six inches deep, at a leisure lake in Somerset, waiting to take his jet ski out when he was hit by another machine travelling at 50 mph. The impact knocked him down, leaving him face down in the water.
Onlookers rushed into the water to help Mr Bendle but, not wanting to aggravate any possible back injuries, they merely supported him until the ambulance arrived.
The ambulance crew arrived but the paramedic refused to allow his staff to proceed as they were not trained for a ‘water rescue’. Onlookers were stunned by their action (or inaction) and attitude but ‘health and safety’ had well and truly struck again.
It was down to the onlookers to slide a support board under Mr Bendle and carry him to the ambulance men who were stationed a whole six feet away on terra firma. No concern for the health and safety of the onlookers, the general public, then!
Personnel from the Emergency Services have always, at least up until now, had a reputation for putting the health and safety of their patients before their own, performing great deeds of valour on many occasions. But it’s a changing world, unfortunately.
It now seems that the health and safety of the municipal or corporate purse comes first, the patient now down towards the end of the food chain.
I have visions of a day when a member of the public is struck down by some malady or accident while standing in a puddle and has to wait until Air Sea Rescue or the RNLI are summoned.