Bicycles top London Ambulance Service’s Christmas list

London Ambulance Service staff in Ilford don’t have to write to Santa to ask for a bicycle this Christmas. The Service has teamed up with St John Ambulance to provide two ambulance bicycles that will operate in the town centre on 23 and 24 December from 9am to 6pm.

The bicycles will be linked to the London Ambulance Service’s Emergency Operations Centre and will receive details of any incidents that happen locally. The riders, including Emergency Medical Technician Mick Nugent and officers from Chadwell Heath St John Ambulance, will be able to beat the congested Christmas traffic and bypass last-minute shoppers to reach those in need quickly.

Essential life-saving equipment such as heart-starting defibrillators will be on board the bicycles, as well as oxygen, burns dressings and bandages, enabling the riders to provide treatment before an ambulance arrives.  

Mick Nugent who came up with the idea to provide the Christmas Service to patients in Ilford said: “We are always very busy over the Christmas period. A high volume of people out in the town centre and people out enjoying a festive tipple means there is potential for more accidents to occur.”

“These bicycles will allow us to make rapid progress through town to reach seriously ill or injured patients quickly. If an incident is minor, we will be able to provide the necessary care at the scene freeing up ambulances to deal with more serious life-threatening calls elsewhere.”

The Service already uses ambulance bicycles in other parts of the capital. In summer 2002 it launched a permanent cycle response unit operating in London’s West End. It was the first of its kind anywhere in the UK and has proved to be a great success. Since then, it has opened another cycle response unit at Heathrow airport.

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