Could the next person you see driving an ambulance be a fireman?
A controversial pilot in Lincolnshire will see firemen in the county driving patients to hospital. Over half a million pounds will be ploughed into the scheme, which will see firemen receive medical training and drive their own ambulances in three areas: Woodhall Spa, Stamford and Long Sutton.
The aim is to get patients to hospital quicker, saving lives in the process. Critics of the pilot say firemen won’t get to emergencies such as fires quicker, but the Chief Fire Officer thinks the impact in this area will be ‘minimal’. He said: “It is acknowledged that firefighters involved with conveying patients to hospital may be out for longer periods than they currently are with a co-responder call, although it is anticipated the impact on attendance at fire calls will be minimal.”
The firemen’s ambulances will have the same level of equipment as a normal ambulance but won’t carry any controlled drugs. Paramedics will still play an important role, however, in determining if patients need to go to hospital and may travel with fire crews if necessary.