Regarding your story Para­medic claims cuts will cost lives, December 29, it is good to hear that a paramedic is speaking out for the people they serve in the South Hams.

The paramedic is not a whistleblower, they are someone with a conscience; a person who cares for the people they are trying to help in their hour of need. I totally agree with what they are saying – the claims are justified.

Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and other South Hams towns are very much at the end of a very long dead end when it comes to ambulance cover.

Dartmouth is very low on the alphabetical list and I am sure the same could be said for Kingsbridge and many other areas of the South Hams.

In some cases, patients have to wait for hours before an ambulance arrives but that is not the fault of the ambulance staff who do a fantastic job under very extreme pressure.

I have been told by some paramedics that lives will be lost if waiting times are not improved.

Last year, one poor woman had to wait two-and-a-half hours sat on a chair at the side of the road in Dartmouth. How can this be acceptable?

With the rapid response vehicles being cut in the South Hams, response times are not being met and patients are not getting the urgent medical attention when needed. How can patients be left for hours without pain relief and what happens if their condition worsens? An RRV staff member would be able to treat, relieve pain and stablise them before the paramedics arrived.

The ambulance trust states that with two-manned crews taking over from RRVs, the service will be improved and that as soon as one ambulance was deployed elsewhere, another would take its place to provide cover.

From what I understand, this doesn’t appear to be true. When ambulance crews book on, they are deployed very soon after, which means towns such as Dartmouth very often have no ambulance cover for hours at a time, with vehicles often tasked to work in the Torbay area.

Resource are being deployed to urban areas and larger towns, leaving rural areas wiin insufficient cover.

Having more RRVs and ambulances in the Torbay area means overall response times look better across the south west. However, this it at the expense of towns such as Dartmouth and Kingsbridge and many of the villages across the South Hams.

As the ambulance trust states, first responders do a great job but they are hung out to dry by having to wait for hours for a paramedic vehicle – having limited resources with which to treat a patient and getting grief from worried families waiting hours for an ambulance.

I was asked to become a first responder but declined due to the stress I would have had to face, trying to calm worried relatives during a long wait.

The trust has spent £3.8m on new double-crewed ambulances to deliver the right care to patients. This investment is not evident here in Dartmouth.

I used to be in the ambulance service and I still have contacts within the service, so I know what is going on.

It would be good if the ambulance trust listened to the medics working on the ground and took notice of their views,

The Government is very much to blame for the mess we are in with all our medical services. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is so out of touch with all aspects of the NHS.

The NHS is in freefall and unfortunately it is the ambulance services and our hospitals that are in the frontline, with their staff having to face the fallout.

David Drury

Ford Valley, Dartmouth