Why I Decided to Respond to the Covid Call-Up

By Gerry Egan QAM, FCPara
Published in Ambulance Today, Issue 2, Volume 17, SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic — Global EMS Response,
Summer Edition 2020

I retired from full time work as Chief Executive of the College of Paramedics on December 31, 2019 with full intentions of rekindling my musicianship and building my bike workshop.

Like most of the world, I watched with horror and incredible sadness the spread of Coronavirus across the globe and its inevitable arrival in the UK.

Spending most of my ambulance life in the Scottish Ambulance Service and knowing the work, training and planning that the service had been doing for many years it was no surprise when the request was made both by the Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Scotland for retired staff to return to work if possible.

A number of thoughts went through my head; not least, at 64 years of age, ‘was the risk too high in terms of being able to do the job?’

I still work part-time as a paramedic in motorsports and had no concerns about my clinical capability but did have concerns about spending lengthy periods in PPE. Not only that, but did I have the level of physical fitness to cope with 12 hour shifts and the physicality of frontline work?

I considered my mental health too. In the end however, I came to the conclusion that my personal resilience, and the very close networks of family, friends and colleagues I have, made me as well prepared as any other paramedic at this time.

In my heart I knew I could assist and wanted to help in any way I could. One of my go to questions internally from Doc Hinds sprung to mind: “Are my intentions honourable?” Yes, they were.

I completed the online forms and submitted my application through the Scottish Government systems. A few days later I had a couple of responses and started the process of being recruited to Bank Staff with both NHS Lothian and the Scottish Ambulance Service.

A number of calls have had a significant mental health element to them … On several occasions I have stayed on a call … to listen and chat, and hopefully help the patient.

I had discussions with my wife and family and we decided that frontline ambulance was not going to be the best thing for me to do. My previous post was as clinical director and my paramedic consultant post was in clinical decision-making around telephone triage, and this was the area I offered to return in.

I attended a three-day course with the Scottish Ambulance Service and, along with a number of others who returned to the service, worked through the core skills and changes that had taken place over the last few years. This included a driving assessment on a modern ambulance to ensure that we were safe and competent. 

Looking around the room at our “socially distanced” group it was clear that there was close to 600 years of experience between us. Yet despite this, we all shared very honestly the trepidation we felt, the limitations we thought we may have and our overwhelming desire to help patients in whatever way we could.

Gerry Egan QAM, FCPara, hard at work on his bike

Mental preparation for me was going to be important. Like most paramedics, I have seen my share of good and bad things over the years and expected this would be amongst the worst and most challenging.

My own decision was to limit myself to one news programme a day, watch the government briefings and follow on social media the people I found to be factual and credible and non-sensationalist. I followed the scientific evidence as it appeared, and developed my own opinion on what was going to be right for me and my family.

Coronavirus was, and still is affecting our family in the same way as every other person in the country. We weren’t able to see or hug our grandkids for several months which was incredibly tough and our youngest son, who is an adult and has learning disabilities was in lockdown with his carers for fourteen weeks, so we had to rely on the wonderful care team to keep us updated. Thankfully, since then, we’ve been able to have him home for a weekend which was pretty emotional.

I started my first shift with NHS Lothian in the Covid hub at the beginning of May 2020 and, after a short induction and familiarisation with the software and processes, I was up and running. The team is mostly made up of General Practitioners, and I am the only paramedic on the team.

The GPs have been incredibly supportive and are always on hand to answer a question or suggest a direction for a patient. Learning the referrals pathway has been a steep learning curve, but again I’ve been assisted by a team happy to advise and support.

From a paramedic perspective, the work (I do 3 or 4 shifts per week in the Covid Triage Centre) is interesting and very different to working on an ambulance. I see a patient’s clinical record, emergency care summary, previous NHS contact and current medicines all before I speak to the patient or carer.

This adds greatly to the decision-making process and assists in getting a good patient outcome. A number of calls have had a significant mental health element to them, often due to lockdown changing people’s interaction with the world around them. On several occasions I have stayed on a call (when no other patients are waiting) to listen and chat, and hopefully help the patient.

To date, I have not been asked to undertake any ambulance shifts as current demand and levels are being incredibly well managed by NHS boards. But if the situation changes in the future, then I’m more than ready and willing to do my bit.

Dräger Expands Capacity For Respiratory Masks As It Sets Up Production Facility In UK

Dräger has received an order from the British government to deliver respiratory protection masks (FFP3) in order to help protect emergency health professionals on the frontline as they continue to respond to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

With provision starting this year and lasting right up until the end of 2021, the expected net profit of sales is expected to reach roughly EUR 100 million.

In a bid to stimulate more economic activity within the UK, Dräger has decided to keep production in the Blyth area of Northumberland, where it has had a development and production site for respiratory protection technology for firefighters and industry for over 50 years.

In addition to the existing production network in Sweden and South Africa, and the recently decided new production sites in France and the US, this means that there will be a considerable percentage of high quality respiratory protection masks available on the market for emergency health care professionals, manufactured by a company with a long history of expertise within that specific industry.

The investment into the expansion of production capacities across all five production sites will require a mid-double-digit million euro amount in the 2020 financial year.

Rainer Klug,
Chief Officer of Safety Division,
Dräger

Rainer Klug, Chief Officer of Safety Division at Dräger said: “We are very pleased about the major order from the British government.’

“It gives us the opportunity to expand our international production network for FFP masks. With this additional production unit, Dräger will increase volumes quickly and flexibly.’

“Our international production network enables us to react very quickly and specifically to national or local requirements on the one hand, and to cover international requirements in a closely networked and flexible manner on the other.’

“Dräger thus operates a highly responsive manufacturing system for certified FFP respiratory protection masks, with a product design originating from our own development in Germany”.

Annual Carers Survey Launched by Welsh Ambulance

If you look after a family member or friend, then the Welsh Ambulance Service wants to hear from you during August as part of its Carers Survey 2020.

Caring for anybody with a physical or mental disability, a person with substance misuse issues or providing extra help as someone grows older can be extremely testing and impact on the carer’s own life and wellbeing.

The Ambulance Service would love to hear your experiences of caring — especially if you’ve had cause to use any of their services such as emergency care response, falls team, non-emergency patient transport or community engagement work.

Executive Director of Quality and Nursing for Welsh Ambulance, Claire Roche said: “Gathering personal experiences from carers is vital to us and will help build greater understanding and shape how we meet their needs in the future.’

Claire Roche,
Executive Director of Quality & Nursing,
WAST

“I would urge anybody in a care role to make their voice heard and let us know via the survey how they have found our response when they have needed to call.”

Run by the Patient Experience and Community Involvement (PECI) team, the survey is in its second year.

Matt James from the PECI team added: “Reaching out to those who are caring for loved ones can be a lifeline.’

“To provide a safe forum and support network is essential in helping people feel understood and that they are not alone.

“Our annual survey will help us to further understand the issues faced by people we may not physically be able to reach.”

Follow the work Welsh Ambulance do with carers on Twitter @WelshAmbPIH.

To take the survey visit https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/1_WASTCarers2020/

The Prince of Wales Meets Emergency Services Staff

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The Prince of Wales has met representatives from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS), and Devon and Cornwall Police.  

His Royal Highness (HRH) visited Exeter Middlemoor Fire Station on Wednesday 22 July to express his support and thanks for the work undertaken by the three services so far in response to Covid-19.

He heard first-hand from various personnel about the pressures on the services, and how they have adapted with dedication and professionalism to meet the challenges.

Left to right: Conor Calby, Newly Qualified Paramedic; Kye Brooks, Paramedic; Mark Evans, on-call firefighter who will join SWASFT on Monday 27 July an Emergency Care Assistant; Rob Partridge, on-call fire crew manager and volunteer ambulance driver; Jessica Cunningham, Executive Director of Operations at SWASFT; Derek McCullough, an officer with SWASFT who has been the overall co-ordinator for the scheme.

SWASFT has worked in close partnership with the region’s fire services during the pandemic, with firefighters supporting ambulance crews by driving vehicles and working alongside clinicians to provide care and assistance to patients.

Jessica Cunningham, Executive Director of Operations at SWASFT, said: “We are delighted that HRH has been able to hear first-hand about the invaluable amazing contribution of our fire service partners across the region in our response to Covid-19.

“We were able to stand this project up extremely quickly, which was really important because nobody knew in March exactly what the impact of Covid-19 would be on the population of the South West.

“We are extremely grateful for the level of collaboration with all the region’s fire services, which has truly benefitted our service to patients.

“We are discussing with the fire chiefs how we will continue to work together, as this partnership has been a really positive experience for both services.” 

HRH Prince Charles with Jessica Cunningham, Executive Director of Operations at SWASFT, and Derek McCullough

In March SWASFT formally requested the five South West fire and rescue services to provide ambulance drivers as part of its Covid-19 response.

SWASFT invested in a fleet of 15 additional ambulances, which would be driven by volunteer firefighters across the South West 24/7.

Initially they attended lower priority calls with Emergency Care Assistants (ECAs), but since the end of June have worked alongside paramedics to respond to all categories of emergency.

So far the volunteers have attended a total of more than 4,500 incidents.

Derek McCullough, an officer with SWASFT who has co-ordinated the partnership, said: “The volunteers are genuinely saving lives.’

“There have been cases where they have assisted with CPR and have revived various people. They have also been involved in challenging hospital transfers in the South West and beyond for patients with severe burns and life-threatening brain injuries. One crew also helped to deliver a baby girl called Elsie.”

Mark Evans, an on-call firefighter, is leaving his job as a supermarket manager to join SWASFT as an ECA after helping to deliver baby Elsie.

He said: “When I was at school I wanted to be either a footballer or a paramedic. I’ve really enjoyed partnering with SWAST during the pandemic, and everyone has made me feel part of the team. I’m starting-off as an ECA and eventually aim to become a paramedic.”

HRH also met Newly Qualified Paramedic Conor Calby, Paramedic Kye Brooks, and Rob Partridge, on-call fire crew manager and volunteer ambulance driver.

MDA Aim for 15 Minute Corona Test Results

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As part of the fight against the spread of the Corona virus and in order to reduce the time for receiving Corona test results, the Ministry of Health and Magen David Adom began pilot at the MDA “Drive and Test” complex in Lod in cooperation with the Mehuedet and Clalit HMOs.

Today, the average time to receive results is 48-72 hours, depending on the laboratory’s work load and the number of daily tests. As part of the trial, the Ministry of Health is interested in reducing the waiting time to only 15 minutes.

A pilot began yesterday (Wednesday) at the MDA “Drive and Test” in Lod in the presence of Health Minister Yuli Edelstein and Deputy Health Minister MK Yoav Kisch who have personally accompany the program from the beginning.

Magen David Adom, Israel’s National Emergency Medical and Blood Services Organization, which was chosen to take the samples for the trial, set up a dedicated mobile laboratory at the “Drive and Test” facility using mobile laboratory technology developed by “Sofia”.

The system brings innovative technology of speed and mobility and can be adapted for use in specific locations which require a more rapid response such as nursing homes, military bases, airports and more.

Only those who come with a referral from the their physician for a Corona test are sampled. Participants are requested to allow for two tests to be obtained at the same time — one regular and one for the rapid laboratory, with the results attached to a test sent to the lab and tested for comparison with the regular test.

A dedicated computing platform will monitor the tests, decryption times and treatment pace. The results will be forwarded to the Ministry of Health and after the results are completed and evaluated, the expansion of the trial will be determined.

MDA Medical Director, Dr. Rafael Strugo: “We at MDA believe that the cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the trial will yield results in the field, shorten the wait times and make the testing process more efficient and simpler for all parties — testers and patients.’

“Rapid results will make it possible to increase the range of tests and thus more effectively track and manage the spread of the virus.”

Deputy Minister of Health, MK Yoav Kisch: “At the request of Minister Edelstein, I started looking for technologies that could help in the fight against the Corona virus.’

“This system operates in the United States with hundreds of thousands of tests and is of course FDA approved,in an expedited procedure.’

“The big advantage of the system is that it is in the field and can provide 40 tests per hour and can certainly suit nursing homes and other sensitive places.’

“We will continue to search and test technology from Israel and the world that can help the State of Israel in dealing with the Corona virus.’

“I would like to thank MDA for joining the trial and the Clalit and Meuhedet HMOs that operate the pilot complex in Lod”.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein: “In recent days, we have crossed the 30,000 mark of tests per day, thanks in part to the My Heritage lab we put into operation.’

“Towards winter, the number of tests must be significantly increased and the time until results reduced. These will help us break the chain of infection. The Ministry of Health is working tirelessly on this.”

MDA Director General Eli Bin: “We congratulate the Minister of Health and the Deputy Minister on the start of the trial with the latest technology, which will help all those involved in the mission.’

“Shortening the response time for citizens is an essential part of the national fight against the spread of the Corona virus in Israel.’

“We will continue to be at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the virus, which is currently on the rise.’

“I sincerely hope that the results of the trial will help dramatically reduce waiting times and provide a quick diagnosis for future patients that will also have a positive effect on the entire economy. “

Duchess of Cornwall Meets Frontline Ambulance Crews

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Earlier today (Monday 6 July 2020), HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visited Swindon Fire Station to meet representatives from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) and Great Western Hospital, Swindon.

Her Royal Highness wished to express her support and thanks for the work undertaken by these key services, and for the people who have worked tirelessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic to help and care for those in the local community.

She also heard first hand of the ways emergency services colleagues have had to adapt services throughout the pandemic.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meets SWASFT ambulance staff

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and Fire and Rescue Service have worked in close partnership throughout the pandemic.

With Fire Fighters supporting ambulance crews, driving ambulances and working alongside clinicians in providing much needed assistance to patients.

Steph Bond, SWASFT Operations Officer, is responsible for managing the Swindon Paramedics and Emergency Care Assistants, also acting as incident commander in serious incidents.

Steph said: “The Duchess was very interested to hear how we have coped during the pandemic and extremely understanding of the pressures we have all faced whilst caring for people in the most difficult circumstances.”

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall meets SWASFT ambulance staff

Alongside Steph Bond, both Charlotte Goldsmith, a Lead Paramedic who drives Rapid Response Vehicles and Karolina Butlanska, Emergency Care Assistant, met The Duchess of Cornwall.

Will Warrender, Chief Executive of SWASFT, said: “I am extremely proud of the work carried out by my South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust colleagues through these challenging times and I am delighted HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has been able to see and hear first-hand the dedication and professionalism of our staff.’

“Our clinical hubs responding to the thousands of 999 calls, those in the many support and corporate functions, colleagues in ambulances and clinicians, who together make this the great service it is.”

Chief Hails Ambulance Service Response During Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Chief Executive of East of England Ambulance Service has thanked staff for embracing news ways of working which have helped deliver faster response times during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Latest figures show that, despite the challenges of Covid-19, the Trust is consistently meeting all national standards, thanks in part to more staff to manage calls and more vehicles on the road.

Compared to the same time last year, ambulance response times to reach the most seriously ill (category one) patients have been reduced from nearly 8.5 minutes to under seven.

Response times to category two calls have been halved in the same period, with these patients receiving care on average 17 minutes quicker that in 2019. 

Dorothy Hosein,
Chief Executive, EEAST

In her update to the Trust’s Board, Chief Executive Dorothy Hosein said: “I want to thank each and every member of staff for their dedication to our patients and this service, and their willingness to work differently in very fast-moving and worrying times.’

“Given the scale of our operation covering six counties, our performance over the past months is a major step forward and I am incredibly proud of what’s been achieved.’

“I am confident we can secure and build on these gains now, to support our patients, residents and staff for the long term.”

Changes introduced to manage the expected increases in demand during Coronavirus were wide-ranging and included new structures for decision-making, innovative ways to create more capacity, and better support for crews.

At all times, the safety and experience of patients and staff was at the forefront of the Trust’s approach.

Key activities of this included:

  • Rapidly recruiting approximately 900 temporary staff from the military, firefighters, students and Community First Responder volunteers
  • Fast-tracking recruitment; concentrated training and effective supervision meant hundreds more staff in operation call centres, providing first stage triage on calls, freeing up more experienced staff for more serious calls
  • Fully staffing as a priority the Emergency Clinical Advice and Triage Centre (ECAT) team with experienced paramedics and other professionals to treat non-emergency calls. The ECAT team can treat significant numbers of patient calls at peak times, helping patients get the right care more quickly and keeping ambulances free for sicker patients
  • Deploying Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers (HALO) at almost every emergency department across the region, reducing handover times for patients
  • Support from volunteers, student paramedics and local charities to maintain patient transport services
  • Huge switch to online meetings to keep staff safe, in-touch and radically reduce travel time for local managers
  • Investment in dedicated 24/7 support crews to clean, stock and keep ambulances road-ready.

Dorothy Hosein added: “As well as our substantive team, I also want to thank those temporary staff who have made such a difference during the past months. I hope, having seen the great work the service does, they will now consider joining us permanently.

“We have seen the difference online recruitment and virtual training can make to getting our stuff numbers up, and we now have the lowest vacancy rate for years. I hope we can use our recent experience to attract even more candidates to join our crews and support staff, especially from younger and more diverse communities.”

Couple’s Cambrian Way Challenge for Charity

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A daring duo of Welsh Ambulance Service staff are taking the high road and walking the length of Wales — all for charity.

Paramedic Kevin O’Connor and his Emergency Medical Technician wife Cath, based in Bargoed, are aiming to complete the epic 298-mile Cambrian Way challenge in three weeks, and have even used up their annual leave to do so.

Setting off from Cardiff Castle on 01 September they hope to reach Conwy Castle on the North Wales coast by 21 September, raising plenty of awareness and a bit of cash along the way for The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC).

Kevin & Cath O’Connor

Kevin said: “We want to highlight the struggle all ambulance services have been going through the last four months, and support colleagues who may need help, especially on the mental health side through the months that lie ahead in this, the worst pandemic in living memory.”

Already well into a training routine of regular 15 mile walks the pair are aiming to complete between 14 and 23 miles a day depending on terrain during the challenge.

“For us, this test really starts once we get past Abergavenny and the big mountains begin,” said Kevin.

“We’re confident we’ll make the 300 miles but the middle and North are tougher — but that’s where we like to be.

“We’ll be camping most nights but will take a B&B every third or fourth night.”

Expecting to burn around 5,000 calories each a day they will be taking packets of dehydrated vegetables and plenty of pasta for their camping stove.

A loyal network of friends and colleagues will be meeting them at key points along the way to help fuel them up and provide other essential supplies.

Kevin & Cath sporting their TASC vests

Both coming from military backgrounds, the pair are no strangers to tough physical challenges, and on previous smaller treks in Scotland and the Alps, have carried up to 50lbs in weight each in their rucksacks.

This time they plan to travel a bit lighter and with the help of kind sponsor CC Accountants Ltd have been able to purchase some modern lightweight kit and a GoPro camera to help document the Mammoth trip.

“We’ll be navigating with a map and compass but we do have a GPS system as well.

“We really can’t wait to get going,” said Cath.

Kevin and Cath have set themselves a £5,000 total to reach for TASC and are well on their way to that already.

“It would be great if we could smash that total as well as raising awareness of the work and stresses ambulance staff across the UK go through every day,” said Kevin.

The revered Cambrian Way challenge involves 22,500 metres of ascent and involves the summiting of many famous peaks including Wales’ highest, Mount Snowdon.

To donate to the cause and wish the intrepid couple well, visit their Just Giving page here.

First Operational Activity for MDA’s Ambulance-Bus

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On Friday, July 3, MDA’s unique and first of its kind intensive care bus was called for the evacuation of 9 residents from a nursing home in southern Israel who were diagnosed with Corona virus.

All of the patients were evacuated by the bus in one trip to the Corona Health Care Geriatric Center located in the center of the country.

The unique bus, which was introduced about a month and a half ago, allows the evacuation of up to thirteen patients and injured, with two of them evacuated lying in the middle of the bus, which is equipped with intensive care equipment, and eleven others sitting in the back.

Sirens and an advanced communication system are installed in the bus, enabling the crews in different parts of the bus to contact MDA. The evacuation to the hospital today saved nine ambulances needed to perform such a task.

The MAN company buses are converted inner-city busses and measure just under 40 feet/ 12 meters in length, 2.5 meters wide, and 2.47 meters high.

The three parts of the bus are completely separate from each other with opaque partitions. Thus, even in the case of evacuating infectious patients, the driver does not require PPE.

In order for the driver to keep in touch with teams and evacuees at all times, there is a communication system that allows them to speak. In addition, the driver has access to cameras that are located throughout the bus.

In the middle of the bus, there are two beds with equipment suitable for ALS care. Two paramedics are appointed to treat patients who are lying in this part, while they can see through the camera what is happening in the back, where up to eleven evacuees can be transported in stable or light condition.

There is also an advanced life support equipment, which includes, among other things, defibrillators that can also perform ECGs, and automated chest compressions devices.

Above each seat in the back of the bus, there is an oxygen tap. The eleven taps are fed by four large oxygen tanks, which are connected to a special system located in the front of the bus.

There are also two refrigerators on the bus that are designed to store blood and medicines that need to be refrigerated.

In addition to all of this, the bus is powered by V230 power outlets, which allow additional medical equipment to be connected if needed, such as ECMO, incubator and the like.

The evacuation bus is an emergency vehicle for all intents and purposes, and is equipped with lights, siren, and an announcement system, similar to a MICU. In addition, the bus is connected to MDA’s radio system.

The cameras in the bus are also connected to MDA Medical Dispatch Center, so doctors and senior paramedics from the hotline can see what is going on and, if necessary, advise the bus’s team and participate in decision making.

In terms of hygiene and ICP, the bus has a special oxygen exchange system that can, according to the Ministry of Health, replace all the air in the vehicle in just seven minutes.

For quick and efficient cleaning, the bus seats are made of leather, and each has a seat belt. On top of that, the bus’s power outlets are waterproof, so the vehicle can be disinfected without fear of electric shock.

Finally, TV screens have been installed on the bus to ease the evacuees’ time. The windows of the bus are sealed, and looking inside the bus from outside is impossible.

In addition, at the rear of the bus there are compartments for storing personal belongings of the evacuees. The bus is accessible for the disabled, and a special ramp for passenger transport is installed.

Eli Bin, MDA Director General, said: “As the national EMS organization of the State of Israel, MDA teams spend days and nights in developing means for saving lives and provide medical response efficiently and quickly. We will continue to face every challenge at any time and wherever it is needed.”

Bubble Screen Creates Additional Protection for Ambulance Volunteers & Patients

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North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has introduced plastic screening for its team of volunteer drivers to help keep them and their patients safe amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

More than 150 people volunteer with NEAS as ambulance car service (ACS) drivers, using their own vehicles to help transport patients to and from hospitals and clinics, which keeps ambulances free for emergencies and for patients too ill to travel by car.

Of those, some are currently shielding until the end of June as part of Government guidance during the Coronavirus epidemic, but a core team of 69 are still volunteering their time to support patients who are still travelling in and out of hospital for life-saving treatment, such as chemotherapy and dialysis.

NEAS Volunteer Bob Pattison shows the bubble screen in use

During the current climate, all drivers are provided with masks, gloves and alcohol gel to keep themselves and their patients safe. However, the Trust has now gone one step further by working with international firm Driver Bubble to introduce plastic screens into volunteers’ cars following a successful trial in May.

Made of durable, flexible PVC plastic, the bubble screen is secured behind the front seats of the vehicle to create a protective shield between the driver and passenger.

A close-up of Bob with the bubble screen

The bubble screen was trialled by 54-year-old ACS driver Bob Pattinson, of Blyth, who began volunteering with NEAS in November 2017 after a career in the military. 

He said: “As well as keeping ourselves safe, we’re trying to do our best to keep patients safe and I think this is a real asset to help us do that. 

“I’ve had some really positive feedback from my patients. One lady told me she had felt quite apprehensive about getting in a car with everything that’s going on but that this really helped put her at ease and made her feel much safer.”

James Fenwick, of Ashington, relies on the ambulance car service three times a week for dialysis treatment at the RVI. He said: “I hadn’t even noticed the screen at first, but it definitely makes you feel safe, it’s a canny idea.”

Deputy Chief Executive Paul Liversidge, who oversees the volunteer development team leading on this project, said: “The safety of all staff and volunteers working for and supporting our service is paramount and we’re doing all we can to protect them and the patients we serve during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Introducing these screens is the next step in helping us do this.

“We are very grateful to Bob for trialling the screen for us and, with his help, we have been able to tweak the design to suit our needs. We’re now also investigating whether the screens could be modified further to make them suitable for some of our other vehicles.”