SIR – When ambulance staff went on strike in the Eighties, police officers fulfilled the role on overtime (Letters, May 9). With an ancient Ford Transit and some equipment that looked like it had been in someone’s garage, we were told to sit at the police motorway post and wait for the phone to ring.
It rang at three in the morning, reporting a young man at a house in Stevenage who, according to his mother, had lost the use of his legs.
When we got there, it was clear he was suffering principally from a surfeit of alcohol. Still, we lifted him into one of those awkward metal chairs and attempted to carry him out through the garden to the waiting “ambulance”. Unfortunately, due to a lack of manual handling skills, we tipped him into the fishpond, where he immediately recovered the use of his legs.
We congratulated ourselves that local ratepayers were getting both ambulance staff and doctors for their money, and went for a cup of tea.
Richard Light Hitchin, Hertfordshire