ON March 5 we had an illustrated talk from Tim Fellows on the Ambulance Service.
Tim introduced himself as the last of the East Sussex Medical Service which was in being before 1974. It was locally run and included the Red Cross and the St Johns.
In 1974 it became an East Sussex group and a change again in 1995 to become SECAmb. In one year they received more than 650,000 emergency calls. There are 3,200 staff of which 85 per cent are operational and they make 750,000 calls per year. These calls range from cardiac arrest, stroke, to just sickness.
They work from three despatch centres, one in Lewes, one in Banstead, and the third in Coxheath. The system is so advanced that as a patient is giving details to the operator the location is given to the nearest centre and a Sat Nav is set up to give directions and the nearest medic arrives within minutes.
Paramedics are considered to be one step down from a doctor, there are 115 para practitioners and they are permitted to prescribe certain drugs.
There are 1,000 technicians who also support paramedics, also support workers and critical care workers. Demonstrations were given on CPR and how to use a defibrillator, these cost £845 each and are soon to be distributed across the country.
These machines are automatic and a recorded voice tells you how to use them. We found this talk very instructive and gave us great confidence in the Ambulance service we have today.