AMBULANCES: Much more than transport

In the debate over the ambulance service and the new emergency hospital in Cramlington, there are a couple of points often overlooked.

The first is that we tend to estimate journey times to hospital according to our experience of a similar journey.

But we don’t have traffic making way for us and we have to stop at red traffic lights. The ambulance can get there much quicker.

Secondly, the vision many people have of ambulances suggests that their job is simply to get to the patient, and then the hospital, as quickly as possible (what was known as ‘scoop and run’).

But those days are long gone.

The ambulance paramedics of today are highly trained, skilled specialists with access to a range of sophisticated equipment carried on the ambulance.

If need be, they can liaise with staff at the receiving hospital. There is at least one paramedic on every emergency ambulance.

Far from ‘scoop and run’, today’s ambulance paramedics have the skills to asses a patient’s needs and take appropriate action.

Treatment begins with the arrival of the paramedics.

Paddy Conway,