Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Iris Spranger (SPD), is increasing the pressure on the fire brigade’s executive floor because of the ongoing crisis in the rescue service – but is behind the leadership despite the massive problems dragged out by the management trio. The goal: Rapid measures and “structural changes” to end the permanent state of emergency.
There is a lack of paramedics, and in some cases there are no more ambulances available. A four-person steering group set up by Interior Secretary Torsten Akmann (SPD) is now to examine proposed solutions and present results within three months. “The steering group turns over every stone again,” said Spranger. The aim is to “continue to ensure the operational capability of the fire brigade”.
The reason for the intervention: At the end of September 2021, the fire brigade management was given the task of finding solutions for the rescue service. Fire chief Karsten Homrighausen left the matter to his deputy. A task force presented more than 40 proposals in January, but they then silted up. “I find that the task force did not do its job properly in implementation,” said Akmann.
Fire chief Homrighausen and the medical director, Stefan Poloczek, have now been sentenced to find solutions together. Poloczek is criticized because according to his specifications, ambulances drive themselves to minor cases and are therefore missing for real emergencies.
The medical care of the people should be secured in an emergency, it said. But Akmann now said: “The view of the common good has recently played too little a role.” The number of missions is now to be reduced, Poloczek’s independent role and power reconsidered and the staff relieved.
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Although Spranger and Akmann are sticking to the management of the fire brigade and expressly express their confidence in it, they are now beginning to issue formal instructions to the management of the authorities. Akmann only found out about some of the problems a week and a half ago at an emotionally charged fire department staff meeting. He then promised “tempo, tempo, tempo” to help the emergency services.
In addition, the goal was set internally that a draft amendment to the rescue service law should be ready by autumn. One issue here: Instead of paramedics, who are needed for ambulances, less qualified paramedics should drive the emergency doctors. Private providers could take over the transport of less serious cases after a 112 emergency call.