New home for ambulance and mountain rescue teams in Rothbury

The North East Ambulance Service has teamed up with its mountain rescue colleagues to open a new co-responding station in Rothbury.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 11:44 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 11:45 am

The new station, in Coquet View, houses a team of community paramedics from North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) alongside volunteers from the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT).

The station was officially opened by the High Sheriff for Northumberland, Lady Harriet Joicey.

NEAS chief executive Helen Ray said: “It’s wonderful to be setting up a new home for our community paramedics in Rothbury and to be able to celebrate that with an official opening of our new station.

Pictured at the opening of Rothbury ambulance station are, left to right, NEAS Chief Executive Helen Ray, Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen, Lady Harriet Joicey, NEAS clinical care manager Chris Chalmers and NNPMRT team leader Iain Nixon.

“Collaboration between our teams and other agencies in rural areas is incredibly valuable and, as such, it is a pleasure to offer our mountain rescue colleagues a home within our building.

“We know that our combined skills and approach make a real difference to our patients and staff during bad weather and when treating patients in challenging environments, as proven during the Beast from the East where volunteers provided a tremendous amount of support to our service and patients.”

Ruth Corbett, clinical operations manager at NEAS, added: “The facilities at our new station mean much more to our paramedics than simply a location to start and finish their day and take any breaks; it also provides them with a safe space to decompress following a difficult incident as well as giving them somewhere to study and conduct training sessions with other community services such as our fire and police colleagues.

“We already work closely with our local mountain rescue teams but being more familiar with each other’s equipment and protocols by being co-located will make for much better teamwork when we respond to an incident together in future, ultimately improving the care we are able to provide to our patients.”

Steve Montgomery (treasurer, NNPMRT), Steve McManus (paramedic, NEAS), Ruth Corbett (clinical operations manager, NEAS) and Ninette Edwards (fundraising officer, NNPMRT).

NEAS has operated a community paramedic model in Rothbury for 14 years. The model, which was ground-breaking at the time, sees a team of NEAS paramedics working within their community, undertaking GP clinics and responding to emergencies.

NNPMRT, along with its sister team North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team, provide support to NEAS throughout the year to help it reach and treat injured walkers, fell runners, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

The rescue teams also offer vital resilience to the ambulance service for severe weather events. One example of this was during the Beast from the East in 2018, where volunteers provided invaluable round-the-clock support to both NEAS and Northumbria Police – from helping stranded motorists to supporting with urgent patient transfers – over a 96-hour period.

Iain Nixon, team leader for NNPMRT, said: “Being located with NEAS in this new station means we have a base and a response vehicle located closer to where we have a significant proportion of our incidents, the upland areas of Northumberland. This enables us to provide a more responsive service to those in need.

Pictured at the opening of Rothbury ambulance station are, left to right, Northumberland Fire and Rescue fire services manager Rob Clow, NNPMRT team leader Iain Nixon, NEAS Chief Executive Helen Ray, Lady Harriet Joicey, Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen and NEAS clinical care manager Chris Chalmers .

“Another great advantage of being co-located is that we get to know each other better in terms of knowledge and abilities. Building on this relationship makes us an even better team when we’re on scene together at an incident and this is a benefit we’re already noticing.”