CONCERNS have been aired about emergency medical cover at Birmingham International Airport after it was revealed its round-the-clock paramedic presence is to be ditched and replaced by staff trained in basic first-aid.
The move is thought to be part of a cost-cutting regime at the airport as it seeks to raise funds for its runway extension.
But one disgruntled member of staff has lambasted the move, which is due to take effect in November.
It marks the end of a contract with West Midlands Ambulance Service to provide a paramedic on site 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, believed to be worth around £200,000 each year.
The worker, who did not wish to be named, said: “They are going to get rid of a paramedic on duty and replace them with a basic first-aid person who can’t even administer drugs. I think it is absolutely despicable.
“There has always been a qualified medical person there - before this contract we had our own nurses which they got rid of.
“They say they are going to send staff on first-aid courses but how is that an adequate replacement for a fully-trained paramedic.”
The concerned worker said the current system saw paramedics kept busy, particularly during peak holiday times.
“The paramedic can be called out up to 20 times a day in the summer season - anything from people who are taken ill on planes to holiday-makers collapsing in the terminal,” they added. It would all seem to be about saving money but you can’t put a price on somebody’s life. People who work here are disgusted by the proposal.”
An airport spokesperson confirmed medical cover arrangements were being changed in November and added: “In line with other UK airports, we have decided to implement a network of trained first-aiders for ‘first response’ before the emergency services arrive.”