Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 915 - 919)




  915. Welcome, Mr Roberts and Mr Bradley. I almost have to make an apology, you probably never thought when you took on your job you would be appearing before the Defence Committee. I will not go into detail as to why it is the Defence Committee and not Health or Social Security or any of the others. I was told there are 85 American Congressional committees or sub-committees investigating 11 September, I am afraid we do not quite rival that, as far as I know there is just one and this is it. That is why you are here. Thank you for your memorandum. We will plod on. You decide who is the most appropriate to answer. Can you give us some examples of where the Ambulance Service has not been involved as closely as you would have liked with emergency planning in the NHS?

  (Mr Roberts) I think pre 11 September, particularly at cross Government level, the Cabinet Committee tended to neglect ambulance compared with the fire and police. We have been trying hard since then to make up for that deficit. Basically at the very top level, if you like, at the cross Government level, I think the voices of the Ambulance Service have not been heard as well as they might have been. A good example of that would have been in the consultation which took place on the emergency planning where they did consult the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers, the police and local authorities, we were not consulted.

  916. At the national level?
  (Mr Roberts) At the national level, yes.

  917. Is that so?
  (Mr Roberts) Yes.

  918. Did you protest?
  (Mr Roberts) We protested when we found out that they had been consulting, yes.

  919. If it is any consolation the MoD did not appear to have been consulted either so you are in good company.
  (Mr Roberts) We are in excellent company. Rather than complaining about it, we tried to be positive and tried to talk, particularly to the Cabinet Office, about how we might be better engaged in future.

  Chairman: You will have a good opportunity this afternoon to redress the embarrassment.

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