This week our #EMAZING East Midlands Ambulance Service staff have been working in difficult and hostile environments to provide the best possible care to patients, and have been overwhelmed by support from their communities.
The very poor and challenging road conditions in some areas are making a speedy 999 response difficult. This puts additional pressure on our ambulance crews, but also our Emergency Operations Centre colleagues who answer the 999 calls and dispatch available ambulances to patients waiting for a response.
We have heard dozens of stories of our staff walking several miles in the snow to get to work so that they can help others, and then our ambulance crews have battled treacherous road conditions and dug paths through the snow to reach the patients who need them.
Whilst ambulances have been stocked with snow socks, some crews are also having to use shovels in order to reach people. Our Hazardous Area Response Team have provided support where needed, and often the community come to our aid too.
We’ve heard stories of local people shovelling snow to clear the road for us, and a farmer using a tractor to rescue an ambulance vehicle that has got stuck, and we have been inundated with offers of 4x4 vehicles as well as messages of praise and support.
Chip shops, pizza restaurants and supermarkets have handed out free food to our staff to keep them going through their tough shifts, we've had offers of 4x4 taxis to get our staff to and from their shifts, and gritter lorries and members of the public have even helped us get two women in labour to hospital where they could safely have their babies.
We truly have been blown away by the phenomenal support we have received, and we want to thank everyone who continues to support us.
The poor road conditions are a challenge for our non-emergency Patient Transport team too, and they are focussing efforts to provide journeys for patients that need vital treatment at hospital, such as oncology or dialysis.
Buxton Mountain Rescue Team have been assisting our Patient Transport Services with collecting patients in the Derbyshire Peaks who need to get to hospital for their dialysis appointments, and several of our crews have made huge efforts to get patients home from hospital across the county.
To support colleagues, a Strategic Command Cell of senior managers and support services has been set up at EMAS Headquarters to operate 24 hours a day throughout this protracted incident, and to provide support to local EMAS Tactical Cells set up in each county.
Arrangements have been made for colleagues to change their reporting base if they know they’ll struggle to get to their usual shift start location, and in some cases we’ve arranged for 4 x 4 transport to pick up colleagues to help them get to and from work – colleagues off duty have also volunteered to provide 4x4 journeys to support their colleagues in this way.
The steps our staff, volunteers and partners are taking to reach patients to provide treatment and care are appreciated by the communities we care for, as shown by messages of praise received from many people on our social media accounts (Twitter @EMASNHSTrust and Facebook EMASNHSTrust).