Cycle Medics Gear-up for Gwent
Emergency healthcare response in Gwent is about to receive a boost – and an environmentally friendly one at that. Following on from its launch in Cardiff and Vale, the Welsh Ambulance Service this week unveiled its new Cycle Response Unit bikes for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) area.
On Friday at The Bike Shed store in Pontcanna, Cardiff, four new specially made bicycles were handed over to the ambulance service and will at first be utilised on the streets of Newport. After initial research work with London Ambulance Service, who have 20 years’ experience of cycle response, local business The Bike Shed were drafted in to work on the perfect bike design to accommodate the 52kg load of equipment they will carry – the same as that in rapid response ambulance car.
Darren Panniers, Ambulance Operations Manager for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area, welcomed the project by saying: “We are thrilled to take delivery of the new bikes and once deployed will be a great asset.
“Working closely with a specialised local business has given us the opportunity to fine-tune every aspect and achieve the best possible cycles for our crews, whilst also supporting the Welsh economy and helping to save lives in our community.”
Staffed by paramedics and emergency medical technicians who hold Public Service Cycling certificates, the Cycle Response Unit (CRU) was first trialled in Cardiff in 2016 and has proved a useful and popular asset to the city’s medical response arsenal – especially at peak times like the Christmas party season or a match day when footfall is higher.
Mark Cadman, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Operations Manager for Cardiff and the Vale, said: “The compact nature of Cardiff city centre required a different approach with resources that were manoeuvrable and didn’t rely on vehicular access.
“Operating within a concentrated area of one mile around the city, the CRU will routinely see 10-15 patients per shift.”
Providing a speedy and carbon-neutral response on often crowded streets, the CRU in Cardiff was used for some 623 requests for medical assistance during 2018 alone, and in many cases prevented a vehicle being sent to a non-emergency scenario, freeing up time for the most acute calls.
Andrew Harris, CRU Lead based at Blackweir in Cardiff, said: “With funding from the Welsh Government’s Capital Fund that totalled around £100k, we were able to undertake 12 months of testing and development to get it right and purchase the custom-made bikes, medical kit and transporter van.
“The bikes help towards our environmental goals but are also of great benefit to the mental and physical health of our staff. “Once wehave had the staff trained we will start by mobilising the CRU around Newport on Saturdays and build up from there.
“As restrictions surrounding Covid-19 ease, the bikes will be in operation around the city centre and Rodney Parade.”
The CRU hope be out on the streets of Newport before Christmas covering roughly a 1.5 mile radius around the city centre.