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UK SAR 2013 privatisation: the new thread

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UK SAR 2013 privatisation: the new thread

Old 14th Aug 2019, 13:51
  #2781 (permalink)  
 
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EESDL - all internal Bristow Standards as I understand it - I believe most of the Standards guys were ex-mil and had done similar job in the mil so quality of provision should be less likely to be conflicted by commercial pressures.

The CAA still has Flt Ops inspectors who can fly with them but I don't know their remit.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 19:18
  #2782 (permalink)  
 
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I see a former mountain rescue team leader has a new book to plug. Well, actually it's the old book with a new chapter that drips with bitterness if the article below from the Press and Journal is anything to go by. It also looks like he knows very little about helicopters even though he has probably been a passenger in one on a few occasions.

It's sad to see how many people he is prepared to rubbish to sell his book. I read the original and found it was mildly interesting but I guess you have to do what you have to do to top up the pension



Press and Journal 14 August

Mountain Rescue Hero Lashes Out

One of the world’s most acclaimed mountain rescue leaders has attacked the impact of the creation of a single police force in Scotland and the privatisation of helicopters on crucial search and rescue operations.

John Allen, MBE, the long-serving but now-retired leader of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue, is concerned about the loss of local knowledge he believes has happened in the process.

Mr Allen, 77, made the comments in a new edition of his book “Cairngorm John”, which was originally published in 2009.
He said: “The loss of Northern Constabulary [when Police Scotland was created in 2013] and with it the loss of mountain rescue’s local connection was bound to be diminishied. "For example, in response to a 999 call, an ambulance arrived at the Cairngorm Ski Ground car park, looking for a climber with a suspected broken leg.

“After discussion with ski patrol staff, it became apparent the call had come from an injured climber in the relatively inaccessible Coire an Lochain and was therefore a task for the Cairngorm MRT. The rescue was only begun some two hours after the original call. Had the local police station been involved, this inconvenient delay would not have occurred.

Rapid and accurate communication is essential and something practical has been lost, along with the relationship on the ground. Local knowledge is irreplaceable.”

Mr Allen has been equally sceptical about the effect of the privatisation of the UK search and rescue service, which was handed over to Bristow Group from the RAF in a new 10-year contract, starting in 2015. He added: “At the time of the privatisation, the new service was promised to be ‘the same or better’. Four years down the line, no rescue team in the new Independent Mountain Rescue (iSMR) service would have said this was the case.”

Mr Allen cited one example of a helicopter training exercise on a “beautiful day” in the Cairngorms which was called off at 15 minutes notice, due to ‘triggered lightning being shown as threatening.”

He said: “Triggered lightning is not a new phenomenon, but only in recent years has it been recognised as a dangerous issue.

“When the new contract was granted, civilian mountain rescue teams were not informed of this possibility and the lack of communication only exacerbated an already deteriorating situation. It could be the contractor’s attention was focused mainly on the sea, but the contract was, of course, intended for both sea and mountain rescues.

“This ‘one size fits all’ attitude may work better for offshore incidents than those in a mountain environment. Sea and mountain rescues present very different challenges.

“But a different approach from the RAF was bound to be taken by a commercial contractor. Perhaps a single contract for these two functions needs closer examination.”

Mr Allen was particularly scathing about the lack of awareness of the difficulties faced by Scottish mountain rescue teams, which he argues has been displayed by some politicians in Westminster. He said: “As a result of a series of incidents, and others with sister teams, the iSMR wrote a letter to the police in July, 2018.

“It was not acknowledged, although a reply came from the Department of Transport in September, stating: ‘No action possible. "This was perhaps not surprising as the MP involved in the decision, Nus Ghani, has a constituency in the well-known mountain area of Wealdon in East Sussex and cannot be expected to show an informed approach.”

The new edition of “Cairngorm John” will be published by Inverness-based Sandstone Press on September 26.
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Old 14th Aug 2019, 20:59
  #2783 (permalink)  
 
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Anyone who titles their own book after there name is obviously a first class knob and I think this chap is definitely one of these.
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 04:33
  #2784 (permalink)  
 
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Somebody calls an ambulance and the police get blamed?

I think maybe that's to do with
a) the casualty not asking for the police and mountain rescue
b) the 999 operator not expected to read the casualty's mind
c) ambulance control operating in their silo (and probably looking up the postcode for 'Cairngorm Mountain')
so nothing to do with Police Scotland.

Police unification had a few hiccups in the early stages. The main one was picking idiots for Chief Constables. I have always said that I do miss Northern Constabulary and principally because they were a police force that understood that they couldn't do it all. That can be important in a patch like the Highlands and Islands. One really good thing PolScot did was creating the post of National SAR Co-ordinator and filling it competently.

The new police control room system could have been done better. Having the North one 350km south of the northern part of Scotland may have been an error. However the control room situation has settled down and the aforesaid co-ordinator tends to iron out any creases.

Old fuddy-duddies, yes, even older than me, seem to keep breezing in and trying to do a remake of the four yorkshireman sketch with a mountain rescue theme because it's not like the good old days. Off you go lads, never mind the P&J, the Edinburgh festival fringe is on: see if you can sell some tickets there.

Note that my post of 24th July refers to Qinetiq's Post-Implementation Report and highlights the reference they make to ambulance co-ordination.
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Old 15th Aug 2019, 09:29
  #2785 (permalink)  
 
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Lack of joined up communication has always been a problem with SAR but you get used to it in areas that don't have such a high call-out rate as the Cairngorms - police, ambulance, fire and rescue, CG all have their own protocols and have all suffered cuts in manpower over the years and the inevitable loss of experience.

Continuity planning doesn't seem to hold high favour when balanced against cutting costs.
​​​​​​​
Sadly, the casualty is often the one who suffers most in the delays to rescue and treatment while each element of the rescue services deals with its own priorities first.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 10:45
  #2786 (permalink)  
 
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re self-policing of service levels - so once existing 'STANOs' retire, then the only personnel with any knowledge come from within the commercial entity that is our SAR service?
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 11:39
  #2787 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by JulieAndrews View Post
re self-policing of service levels - so once existing 'STANOs' retire, then the only personnel with any knowledge come from within the commercial entity that is our SAR service?
Solutions?
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 12:17
  #2788 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jimf671 View Post
Solutions?
CAA-led centre of excellence :-). - a small dark office somewhere along the corridors of General Belgrano?
Thereby taking the current situation seriously enough to be able to maintain standards - regardless of operator - maybe a beefed-up version of the current CAA AOC FOI role?
Such credible oversight will cost money but shouldn’t that have been included in the bid ‘process’?
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 12:17
  #2789 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Lack of joined up communication has always been a problem with SAR but you get used to it in areas that don't have such a high call-out rate as the Cairngorms - police, ambulance, fire and rescue, CG all have their own protocols and have all suffered cuts in manpower over the years and the inevitable loss of experience.

Continuity planning doesn't seem to hold high favour when balanced against cutting costs.

Sadly, the casualty is often the one who suffers most in the delays to rescue and treatment while each element of the rescue services deals with its own priorities first.
To be fair, Police Scotland put some really good individuals in key positions and their efforts have paid off in honing a system that was never really planned at the beginning as a geographically inclusive one. The current N-Division commander seems to appreciate the issues and is keen to get this stuff right. People are sitting down and talking through the detail at divisional and national level, which is how it should be. Meanwhile, the revised Four Yorkshireman sketch continues in the background.

The Scottish Ambulance Service can be prone to the same silo thinking as other such services across the UK but has been a unified service with its own air wing for a considerable time so a lot of things work well. As elsewhere though, sometimes the boundary between an ordinary ambulance job and a mountain rescue can be hard to gauge and, as I stated above, the casualty or their companion making the 999 has a lot to do with making this fall into the correct category at the start. The 999 operator is not there to make those judgements and never will be. The responsibility for judging if the correct service has been selected then falls upon the first service control room handling the call. As in the case John Allen refers to, and the points in the Qinetiq PIR, the Yellow and Green Silo may need to open the windows and have a wee look outside.

On continuity, we need to remember that the age of the three year tourist is over and nearly all current crew members are in it for the long haul. Some have been on twitter recently scoffing at the RAF's attempts (£££) to woo old friends back into the fold for P8 crewing. Likewise ARCC, where the experience is starting to build. Now that the Qinetiq PIR has raised the issue of continuity, and thus it is possible it will become part of the contracted duty next time round, we may see a solution. I expect neither of us will shut up until we see the real deal!
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 12:18
  #2790 (permalink)  
 
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There are plenty of young (by my standards) guys and girls with plenty of experience to move up the tree to the standards jobs for many years to come - it just needs good succession planning and selecting the best person for the job rather than the next in line with seniority.

Several very experienced people have been ignored and not even given the chance for interview for some of the rearcrew jobs.
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Old 16th Aug 2019, 13:48
  #2791 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jimf671 View Post
Solutions?
Go back to the old system where the only personnel with any knowledge came from within the non-commercial entity that was our SAR service.
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 14:37
  #2792 (permalink)  
 
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So let's imagine you have 30 minutes to tell a room full of rescue pilots from across the world about the UK SAR Helicopter Service and its implementation during the last four years. What do they need to know?

(Asking for a friend. )
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Old 29th Aug 2019, 15:52
  #2793 (permalink)  
 
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They don't pay their rearcrew enough
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 02:11
  #2794 (permalink)  
 
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Are you trying to get me into trouble Crab?


Does sound a bit familiar though.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 19:40
  #2795 (permalink)  
 
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Does the lack of positive response and plaudits speak for itself or are employees not allowed to comment?
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 20:52
  #2796 (permalink)  
 
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It may surprise you Crab but young people in SAR crewrooms these days have no interest in Rotorheads. NETFLIX and Tinder are the sites of choice.
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 22:21
  #2797 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe they are just getting on with delivering an excellent service with up to date equipment and all on budget. Imagine that!
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Old 30th Aug 2019, 22:34
  #2798 (permalink)  
 
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Crab,

what modern day SAR crews are now experiencing is life outside the military. It’s just a job but life outside work is becoming ever more so important than life behind the wire.
Family, Tinder, kids etc are featuring higher up on the priority list than work which is why they are not on here.
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