Norfolk Police to train more ambulance drivers

Norfolk Police to train more ambulance drivers

Published by KLFM
5:25pm 8th April 2020.

More than 200 student paramedics, military personnel and other new recruits at the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) are receiving specialist driver training from blue light colleagues to help them support the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.

EEAST is working with police forces and fire services across the region to organise short-notice training courses to give people the skills they need to drive urgent tier and non-emergency patient transport service vehicles.

Norfolk Police are the first force to carry out the training, with 12 student paramedics beginning the three-day course on Monday (6 April). The sessions have been designed by EEAST and are being delivered by specialist driving instructors from Norfolk Constabulary, who have pledged to help for at least the next six weeks.

Andy Reid, Head of Driver Training and Professional Standards at EEAST, said: 

"We are absolutely delighted and extremely grateful for the response we have had from our blue light colleagues. This is an example of collaborative working at its absolute best and will make a real difference over the coming weeks and months.

"Norfolk Police have been phenomenal and have worked closely with us to get this initiative off the ground in just 10 days, which is fantastic. We cannot thank them enough.

"Although those taking the course won't be driving our emergency ambulances, they will be playing a vital role in helping us build resilience and cover any gaps caused by staff sickness in our patient transport service, while also allowing us to meet increases in demand.

"We are now liaising with the other police forces and fire services across the region with the aim of training more than 200 people over the coming weeks."

Every effort is being made to observe social distancing measures during this essential training. Although some closer contact has been unavoidable, all staff are following hand hygiene guidance.

Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: 

"We appreciate the enormous challenge the East of England Ambulance Service, along with our other blue light partners, are facing at this time and we know the demand is likely to grow over the coming weeks.

"Norfolk Police, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service and the East of England Ambulance Service are in frequent dialogue to ensure we collectively provide the public and our NHS with the best possible response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"By working together and sharing our expertise across our organisations, we can help provide more resilience to paramedics on the frontline and ultimately save lives."