East of England Ambulance crews get into the community spirit

Monday, 05 July, 2010

During the month of June, staff throughout the region have been giving up their free time to raise the profile of the trust at events such as: nurseries and primary schools, school fetes and summer shows.

A group of Clacton children recently had the chance to learn more about the ambulance service thanks to a visit from two Greenstead staff. Paramedic Shaun O'Neill and emergency medical technician Jacqui Parks were invited to Pebbles Kindergarten to spend an hour speaking about the service and what the children should do in an emergency.

The children were then split into groups and took it in turns to explore the ambulance and have various kit such as bandages applied. They could also listen to their heart beat with a stethoscope. Shaun said: "It was really enjoyable; the children and staff were brilliant and it was altogether good fun. "After a brief introduction, I went through how to call an ambulance with the children, and followed this with the ambulance service's educational materials with lots of interaction from the children. "Hopefully, they all learned how to call an ambulance, and when they should and when perhaps should not call for one." Kindergarten manager Carol Thorton-Jones said: "Although the children enjoyed the role play they picked up on a really important message about why you ring 999; Shaun and Jacqui gave a really important lesson and the children talked about it for days afterwards."

Over in Bishop's Stortford, a Beaver group from the town enjoyed a visit from Stansted student paramedic Chris Cooper who gave an educational talk. The 22 children wanted to know about how to recognize dangers inside the home and outside, how to apply a triangular bandage, treat a minor injury and how to open someone's airway if they aren't breathing. They also asked about the various pieces of equipment that are used by crews. Chris said: "They also asked how to manage an incident for which I told them "stay well back and to call 999" and not to endanger themselves. "The talk went really well and the children were really switched on and taking in most of the information I was giving them."

Trusts from the Luton area came together to promote child care within the local communities at a special event held at Wardown Park. The NHS collaboration had one aim - improving care for children at the Pre School Picnic in the Park event, and representatives from the Luton & Dunstable Hospital, Luton Health Visiting, Luton Community Nursing and Luton paramedic Ed Green gave up their free time to make this day a success. Throughout the day, the children were given the opportunity to explore an ambulance whilst the healthcare professionals spoke to parents about caring for their unwell child or child with a fever. The group evolved when it was recognised that within the region and nationally, the Luton area had a comparatively high number of non-elective admissions to hospital, including paediatrics.

An opportunity presented itself for NHS trusts to participate in a national programme facilitated by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. Luton applied and was the successful site within the East of England strategic health authority region and joined the programme last January. Ben Small from the L&D Hospital said: "The event was really well attended and we all gave out advice and lots of information to the public. Ed was a real credit to the ambulance service, and his involvement on the day was very much appreciated."

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