[T]here were flashing lights and sirens this week when Copeland’s MP took part in a 13 hour shift with the North West Ambulance Service.
On Sunday, Trudy Harrison MP joined North West Ambulance Service’s ‘exceptional paramedics’ Chris Gwinnett and John McCullough for their evening shift to gain an insight into the daily life of a paramedic.
During the shift Mrs Harrison learned about the categories of response and the importance of basic information – breathing, consciousness and circumstances, as well as age and gender, which all helps to prepare the team for incidents.
Mrs Harrison, said: “From the moment we clocked on at 2pm, I saw how well organised, smoothly operating and efficient the system works, and the speed at which all staff operate when the call to action is received.
“Isolation was so often the reason to call 999 – that was my overwhelming realisation at the end of a long but illuminating shift. We can all play a part to reduce social isolation and loneliness, and be there for each other in times of need.”
Established in 2006, the North West Ambulance Service provides 24 hour, 365 days a year emergency care and transport to people living in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside along with a non-emergency service known as the Patient Transport Service.
Mrs Harrison continued: “This was supposed to be a 12 hour shift, though the reality is that nobody goes home until their callout is complete, so we actually finished at nearer 3am, after helping a range of different people, young and old who were experiencing potentially life limiting symptoms though to needing simple reassurance
“Our NHS is fantastic because of people like Chris and John up and down the country, with their exceptional professionalism, dedication and people skills, it truly was an inspiring experience which taught me much about the incredibly well run service we rely upon.
“Thank you for all that you do.”
Every year the Trust, which is the second largest ambulance trust in England receives more than 1.4 million emergency calls, with emergency crews attending to more than one million incidents each year – of those, around 815,063 will require emergency transport.
Caroline Hastings, Operations Manager for North West Ambulance Service said: “We enjoyed welcoming Trudy Harrison MP onto an ambulance for an observatory shift and glad that she got the opportunity to witness our job from the frontline.
“We are exceptionally proud of our staff and all of the hard work they do to help those in need. We do work closely with other services to ensure we have necessary safeguards in place for patients who could benefit from extra help.”
This month the NHS celebrated 70 years of service, with Cumbria Health on Call (CHoC) awarded the Excellence in Primary Care award at a special ceremony in Parliament.