The biggest challenge the ambulance service has ever faced

Murray MacGregor – Friday 10th July 2020 – 9.00am.

With calls to 999 and 111 quadrupling overnight, how can an ambulance service cope protect patients and save lives?

Over the next three weeks on Channel 4, “Paramedics: Britain’s Lifesavers” will capture the extraordinary lengths that West Midlands Ambulance Service went to, to ensure it was able to deal with the biggest challenge it has ever faced; the COVID-19 pandemic.

Filmed across three weeks, the three-part documentary series will be shown at 9.00pm on Mondays.

Cameras captured the daily decisions being made to make sure ambulances could continue to provide urgent medical care to the West Midlands.

During the height of the pandemic calls to the 999 and 111 service run by West Midlands Ambulance Service increased by 400 percent.  To ease the pressure, students and volunteers stepped up to join those on the frontline and give something back to the NHS.

The programmes look at many different areas of the Trust and tell the stories of some of the staff as they deal with the enormity of the situation faced by the entire Trust.

From new call assessors, student paramedics, to staff returning to work after the call for additional staff; the command teams, education and training, they are all featured in the programmes.

Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “Allowing Channel 4 access to WMAS enables us to show the extraordinary lengths that staff in every part of our organisation went to, to meet the challenge of coronavirus head on.  I am immensely proud of the work my staff did and continue to do, every single day.

“The series shows first-hand how amazing they all are and the efforts they went to keep patients safe and save lives despite some of the most difficult conditions we have ever faced.

“I am immensely proud of the way every single person within the Trust played a vital role in our response and how those efforts saved lives every single day.”

The programme was made by Dragonfly Film & TV.  Series Editor, Pete Wallis-Tayler, said: “We would like to thank all of the incredible staff who were filmed and those who have kindly allowed us to tell their stories.

“This series gives those at home the chance to understand more about the excellent work that went on behind the scenes to respond to the global pandemic.”

Fozia Khan, Commissioning Editor Channel 4 said: “We are very grateful to West Midlands Ambulance Service for giving us this privileged access to document their incredible work and show our viewers the reality of their jobs at this most challenging of times.”

Ends

Written by officialwmas

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) covers a geographical area of approximately 5,000 square miles and serves a population of 5.6 million people living in Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Coventry & Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the Birmingham & the Black Country conurbation. The Trust has a total number of 4000 members of staff and uses 864 vehicles.

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