PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 July, 2009, 12:00am

What do you think of the proposed ambulance dispatch system?

The government has unveiled its new medical priority dispatch system ('Staff raise fears over new ambulance system', July 4). It is proposed that the three-tier grading system will have response times of nine, 12 and 20 minutes.

I fear there are risks involved in such a structural change and I do not understand why the government feels the need to do this as it is a drastic move. It would appear to me that there are, in effect, only two levels of response time - around 10 minutes (emergency) and around 20 minutes (non-emergency). When someone calls for an ambulance, it would seem they are facing a situation they fear could prove fatal, or they do not know what is wrong or how to deal with the situation. Asking the operator to ask them nine questions before deciding on the level of severity might not help. Some old people might have difficulty explaining in clear terms what is wrong. Union representatives have expressed concerns over the proposal and warned there would have to be a substantial increase in resources to make the new system work.

We all know that the ambulance service has problems, with some old vehicles. Therefore, the government needs to increase resources in this area by up to 50 per cent before deciding to implement this new system.

There has also been a suggestion that people might be charged for the use of ambulances, as happens in some places. There is no need for us to follow the example set by other countries. A charge should only apply to those individuals who intentionally abuse the system.

People who call an ambulance when they do not need one should be made to pay for the service.

H. C. Bee, Kowloon Tong

Should fines for overdue library items be increased?

If fines are increased then hopefully people will act more responsibly. It will get the message across to people that they should return books on time. It also provides parents with an opportunity to educate children about the importance of libraries and the need to use them responsibly. Higher fines for overdue library items will act as a deterrent.

Chung Man-yau, Kwun Tong