Cycling paramedics increasing support during summer holidays

Katie Houston Paramedic working in Wells

Paramedic Katie Houston working in Wells - Credit: EEAST

Cycling paramedics are putting in the miles throughout the summer holidays in north Norfolk to increase response times to those in need.

It is the first time the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) has operated a cycling paramedics service in Wells, which has reported the overall slowest response times in the UK in 2019. 

Paramedic Andy Long, from Wells, was excited the town would be offering the service for a six week period, with the team cycling to incidents in Wells, Holkham, Burnham, Stiffkey and the surrounding villages. 

On August 19, the cycling team was the first on the scene to treat 70-year-old Terry Hawes when he suffered a major heart attack, and has also treated many patients for broken hips.

Mr Long said; "It has been pretty full on, and the callout was the perfect example of what the bikes can do.

"Wells has been screaming out for some medical cover. Lives have been saved."

On Thursday, the paramedic cycled 35 miles in one day, with the team constantly mobile to increase their visibility. 

He said; "We are keen cyclists anyway. Visibility is a big thing, they can flag us down.

"Wells is recognised as one of the worst response times and we have tried for a long time to get some response out there. 

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"With staycations, people are going to be heading to the coast and north Norfolk is going to be one of the busiest places in the country potentially."

All the team currently work in service's cycling units in Norwich or King's Lynn and has been based at Wells Community Hospital.

Mr Long said the team has been supported by Wells Bike Hire for repairs to enable the team to stay on the road.

Sarah Peberday, general manager at Wells Community Hospital Trust said; said the hospital jumped at the chance to offer a "vital service" and said the hospital would be able to offer a permanent base. 

She said; "With more people holidaying here over the summer there is an increase in our population, but we have also seen an increase in permanent residents throughout the year as more people are working from home.

"It's brilliant to have them here – we really hope they will stay.”