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Yorkshire's Ambulance Service Gets on its Bike for the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014

Increasing the number of Life Cycles on the county’s roads is one of several steps being taken by Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) as it prepares for its stage of the greatest cycling event on earth – the Tour De France Grand Départ 2014 on the 5-6 July.

The move was announced as part of the Trust’s contingency plans for the

Ian Walton, Associate Director of Resilience and Special Services

event by Associate Director for Resilience and Special Services, Ian Walton.

Ian said: “The increase in our number of Life Cycles in Yorkshire next weekend is just the first in a series of steps we have taken to prepare for the event – probably the greatest event of its kind that we’ll see in the coming years. We’ve been very busy working with our partners and TDFHub2014 Ltd to ensure we remain fully operational and can care for our communities in Yorkshire and the estimated two million visitors who are expected to visit Yorkshire for the Tour.”

Included in the Trust’s plans as well as the additional pedal power are:

  • Increased number of staff and vehicles on the road
  • Increased number of staff on motorbikes
  • Increased number of staff on the NHS 111 service
  • An additional air ambulance staffed with a YAS doctor and clinical team, as part of the Trust’s on-going partnership with medical charity Yorkshire Air Ambulance
  • Additional support being provided by neighbouring ambulance services (North East Ambulance Service, North West Ambulance Service, West Midlands Ambulance Service and East Midlands Ambulance Service)
  • Community Medical Units deployed in key locations (Otley, Ilkley, Skipton and West Tanfield on Saturday and York, Hebden Bridge, Holmfirth and Sheffield on Sunday) 
  • Medical staff available at all spectator hubs and critical locations along the route and over 100 first aid trained volunteer Community First Responders
  • Fully operational non-emergency Patient Transport Service

Ian likened the event to “Yorkshire’s own Olympics” and the support provided by the Trust for London 2012 has formed a sound base for plans to be put into action.

Ian continued: “Le Tour De France Grand Départ 2014 is a high profile event and its location in Yorkshire is fantastic for the county, however, it has meant we’ve had to plan ahead to ensure we continue to provide a safe and responsive service to those who need our help in an emergency situation. We’ve had a great response from staff, many of whom are working over the weekend to provide additional cover.

“We hope everyone who attends the event to cheer on the competitors has a great time, but would like to remind people that 999 is for emergencies only and ask that residents and spectators alike use our service appropriately throughout the event.

“We’d like to reassure everyone that we have a comprehensive plan in place and we continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we are prepared before, during and after the event. We are committed to minimising the level of disruption to our service and have taken comprehensive steps to ensure we maintain operational cover and sustain effective and safe services for patients calling upon us.”

The Trust offered the following advice for those hoping to attend the event:

  • Prepare for the weather (all weathers!)
    Make sure you have appropriate clothing, no matter what the weather. Remember to bring your sun cream, a hat, plenty of water and suitable footwear.

    The weather in Yorkshire can be temperamental, so it’s always worth  having your rain-proofs handy. Sturdy footwear is a must for those heading ‘over the tops’ to watch the King of the Mountain stretches.
  • Make sure you’re aware of where you can get medical care
    All spectator hubs and critical points along the course will have a dedicated medical station – make sure you note where this is located when you arrive just in case you need medical attention during the event.
  • Pack your medication
    If you regularly take medication, make sure you have enough with you to last you throughout the event. 
  • Choose Well when it comes to requesting medical help
    The 999 service is there for those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries and we’d ask that you use it appropriately, particularly at busy times like during the Tour de France Grand Départ 2014.

    Our NHS 111 service will be on hand to provide help and advice for
    non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries and will be able to signpost you to the most appropriate care, whether that is through your local GP, by visiting a pharmacist or providing advice for your own self-care.
  • Enjoy yourself responsibly
    Make sure you have fun, but please consider your own safety and that of other people enjoying the event. Take it steady on the alcohol front, make sure you drink plenty of water and plan how you’re going to get both to and from the event.

Further information is available on the official Tour De France Grand Départ 2014 website and its interactive map can help you to plan your route around the road closures http://letour.yorkshire.com/travel/travel-information-map

Commenting on the proposed Unite the Union industrial action this weekend, David Whiting, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:

“We have a very dedicated workforce and I would hope that staff who are Unite members will honour any commitments they have made to work this weekend and support their colleagues in looking after our patients.

“By choosing to take industrial action over the weekend of the Tour de France when Yorkshire will be proud to be showcasing its people, places and warm welcome to a world-wide audience, it reflects the total disregard Unite has for the welfare of patients. The union’s actions are clearly designed to try and disrupt vital services for local residents, visitors and vulnerable patients who find themselves in an emergency situation. 

“We would like to reassure members of the public that Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is committed to minimising the level of disruption to its services and we have robust contingency plans in place to ensure we continue to provide responsive, effective and safe services for our patients during what will be a busy weekend.

“Our focus will continue to be on delivering high quality patient care and we will make every effort to get to patients as quickly as possible.  We ask that patients use 999 wisely to ensure our emergency ambulances are available for those patients who are most seriously ill or injured.”

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department