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Cycle responders pedal their way to national health award

A team of London Ambulance Service medics on cycles have won a top health service award for making a difference to the treatment provided to patients.

The Service’s cycle response unit (CRU) won the Emergency Care in the Right Place, First Time category of the 2013 NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes presented last night (26 November).

Tom Lynch MBE, Operations Manager for the CRU and a former BMX champion who first came up with the idea of responding to calls on bikes in 2000, said: “We are very proud to have won and we feel honoured to have been selected against such a high quality list of medical innovations.

“Our equipment, training and the bicycles have developed over the years, but our purpose has remained the same – getting life-saving care to patients as quickly as possible.”

The CRU responds to emergency calls in particularly congested areas of the capital such as the West End, Heathrow Airport, Kingston town centre, the City of London and St Pancras.

The medics – who carry a full range of medical equipment – are able to reach patients quickly to administer potentially life-saving treatment while an ambulance is on the way.

The team are also able to treat those with less serious illnesses and injuries at the scene and without them then needing to go to hospital – so helping to free up crews to respond to other calls.

Chief Executive Ann Radmore said: “Tom and the team have done a very good job in developing the unit to help improve patient care, and it is very pleasing to see their hard work recognised in this way.”

The project was awarded a prize of £100,000 together with the Alasdair Liddell Memorial Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Healthcare Innovation.

Tom plans to distribute the prize fund to other ambulance Services across the UK, as well as use it to expand the Service’s unit and invest in new equipment.

Facts about the cycle response unit:

  • CRU staff respond to approximately 16,000 calls a year.
  • They resolve around 50 per cent of all incidents at the scene.
  • Their average response time to calls is six minutes.


Notes to editors:

This short film about the work of the cycle response unit was made by the organisers of the NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes.