Friday, July 20, 2012

Doing More With Less?

As you know, Public Safety professionals are very busy... from Police to Fire to EMS.

But Public Safety budgets are being cut all across our country.  Here's a few examples:

Ok, that's more than "a few."  But I'll stop here since I think you agree this trend of Public Safety budget cuts is a hot topic.

So what's the result of these cuts?  Well, imagine this...

You get sick or injured and head in to your local Urgent Care or ER.  Under normal conditions you expect... a short wait in the lobby... a brief visit with a triage nurse... a longer visit with a doctor... and current medical equipment and supplies to help you recover.

But!  If budget cuts have recently hit that facility, you are more likely to experience a lower level of service... perhaps a longer wait in the lobby because a receptionist was let go... perhaps a longer wait in triage because a nurse was let go, but the same number of patients need to be triaged... perhaps shorter and less frequent visits from a doctor for the same reason - same number of patients, less number of doctors... and perhaps outdated equipment and supplies are being used because more current ones were not budgeted.

Los Angeles Fire Department is a good example.  A recent audit found that (following recent budget cuts) LAFD now takes longer to respond to medical calls.

Rarely have we read of Police, Fire or EMS being lazy.  Public Safety professionals are widely regarded as hardworking and dedicated public servants who give 100% to their jobs, despite holding the most stressful jobs available.

So here's the question... how far can we push the idea of "Doing More With Less?"

To what extent can less resources be made up for with increased productivity?

And how can Public Safety professionals properly communicate the tension of this trade-off to the public.

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