Accident and Emergency
Our 999 Emergency Operations Centres in York and Wakefield receive around three to four million emergency calls a year. On average that is over 2,180 a day. To meet this demand we have nearly 1,900 paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and emergency care practitioners (ECPs) working in this front line service.
Our fleet of over 500 specially-equipped emergency vehicles operates from 62 ambulance stations. A network of stand-by points, where vehicles wait until needed, helps us to respond more quickly.
Patients are categorised according to the seriousness of their condition. Those whose situation is immediately life-threatening receive the fastest response. We work hard to ensure that we meet national targets which, in the case of this category, is a response within eight minutes.
Rapid Response Vehicles (RRVs) and ambulances, each with highly-skilled staff trained in the use of the latest medical equipment, respond to many emergencies and urgent calls from GPs, but we also have other ways of reaching patients fast. These options can save time and lives, often freeing RRVs and ambulances for use elsewhere.
Emergency Care Practitioners
An emergency care practitioner (ECP) is a paramedic or nurse who has had extended training to treat and discharge patients with minor injuries and minor illnesses in their own home. They are able to carry out minor medical procedures such as stitching and can also administer an increased number of medications such as antibiotics. This innovative way of working means that many patients can be treated in their own home and do not need to attend the emergency department at hospital or may be referred to other NHS or social care services.
Where speed is vital because of the severity or nature of a patient’s injuries, or if the emergency cannot be reached easily by road, Yorkshire Ambulance Service works with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Great North Air Ambulance services. We provide the paramedics for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. (Note: Both links open in new windows)
Cycle Response Units
Congested city centres can pose access problems for ambulances and RRVs, which is why some locations in Yorkshire now have Cycle Response Units. Cycling paramedics or EMTs use specially-adapted bicycles to reach patients in the heart of the city and provide emergency care. In other parts of the region motorcycles are used for the same purpose. The bikes carry life-saving equipment such as defibrillators for use in cases of cardiac arrest.
The Yorkshire Ambulance Service continues to support 44 British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS) doctors who provide support to ambulance crews at serious road accidents and other trauma incidents across the region. 25 BASICS doctors have now undertaken an emergency driving course to improve the speed of their response.
Community First Responders
YAS has more than 3,961 volunteer Community First Responders (CFRs) across Yorkshire who have basic life support skills and carry kit bags comprising an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), oxygen, oropharyngeal airways and a standard set of first aid equipment. They provide basic levels of clinical intervention and pastoral care to their local community prior to the arrival of an ambulance crew. In 2011 the community-based volunteers have attended over 8,000 incidents, an increase of 2,800 on last year.
CFRs are trained to attend a variety of emergency calls for patients over 16, including allergic reactions, choking, cardiac arrests, breathing problems, chest pain, strokes, fitting and unconscious patients.
Paramedic and Police Scheme
We now have four RRVs staffed by a paramedic and a police officer. They work late-night weekend and bank holiday shifts and attend incidents such as drunkenness or domestic violence, where both services are needed. These vehicles currently operate in York and Hull.
Hazardous Area Response Team (HART)
The YAS HART became fully operational in September 2009. The need for HART was identified after the July 2005 London bombings when the ambulance service was unable to provide a service in the 'hot zone' or inner cordon. As a result, HARTs are now equipped and trained to enter the 'hot zone' to triage and treat casualties.
The members of our HART are specially trained personnel who provide the ambulance response to major incidents. The team has 42 members who are equipped to safely locate, stabilise, treat and rescue casualties from dangerous environments such as collapsed buildings or crashed vehicles. They can provide emergency treatment in precarious rescue operations where patients may be trapped or in places where access is difficult, such as heights, underground or in water.