Police and ambulance personnel are coming together to enable more paramedics to get out to treat patients in an emergency.
Avon and Somerset Police is teaming up with South Western Ambulance Service to host essential theory and hazard perception tests for new paramedic staff. Once the paramedics have passed these exams they can sit a driving test to allow them to take to the roads and attend incidents.
The first three ambulance staff attended the police headquarters in Portishead for their computer-based tests today. Dozens more are expected to go through the process in the coming weeks.
Rhys Hughes, team leader for the driver training unit, said: “When we were approached asking if we could offer these DVSA tests, it was an easy decision for us.
“We have the machines and hold the licence to test the new paramedic staff and so it is sensible for us to step in and help.
“This is a critical time for the whole NHS dealing with coronavirus as they work heroically around-the-clock saving lives and naturally we are keen to provide whatever assistance we can to them.”
Robin Gwinnett, the ambulance service’s head of driver training, said: “Avon and Somerset Police have been fantastic in getting this scheme set up so quickly.
“The partnership is helping us to get more of our student paramedics on the road quicker to help deal with the unprecedented demand in activity that we are expecting over the coming weeks.
“Our thanks goes out to the leadership and operational staff making this happen.”
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