Canal Boat Ambulance

It’s a slow boat to hospital

Monday 26th June 2017 – 6.00pm – Murray MacGregor.

They may not be quite as rapid as a blue light ambulance, but they certainly proved useful in helping an ambulance crew earlier.  What are we talking about? Canal narrow boats.

West Midlands Ambulance Service was called to a location about half a mile from Bridge 82 on the Coventry Canal in the Huddlesford area near Lichfield at about 9.40am this morning to reports that the man piloting a narrow boat had collapsed.

Other canal users had managed to get onto the boat and bring it to a halt at the canal side.

Paramedic Chris Tuncliffe and Technician Simon Poole were sent to the scene.  Chris said: “We got the ambulance to as close to the location as we could but we still had to walk for about half a mile to the narrow boat where we found the patient, a 68-year-old man, who had by this point come round.

“After assessing him we realised that we needed some additional equipment so while I carried on treating the patient, Simon went to get the kit.”

Simon said: “I was about to start walking when I managed to catch a lift on another boat that was heading in that direction and got a lift back to the ambulance.

“While I moved the ambulance to another bridge which was closer, Simon was making use of another narrow boat to start heading in my direction bringing the patient closer to the vehicle.”

Chris added: “Our patient had low blood pressure and some other existing conditions which meant he needed to go to hospital so going by boat was definitely the easiest way to move him.

“We can’t thank the many boat users enough for all of their help and also their actions in stopping the patient’s boat in the first place.  They really seem to be a community and keen to help each other out which is great to see.”

The patient was taken to Burton Queens Hospital for further assessment.


Leave a Reply