A hospital ambulance team are providing a vital service for patients who have no other way of getting home from hospital.
And they’re so dedicated, they’ve clocked up 80,000 miles of service without missing a day in years.
The service has been provided by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust for the last three years.
Ambulance health care assistant Shaun Davies explains: “Our team is made up of three ambulance health care assistants. Between us we have almost 40 years healthcare experience.
“It’s a service we provide for patients who have no other way of getting home. Often they have no friends or family who can help them get home or they have mobility problems. Our patients are mainly older people and those with broken bones.”
Fellow ambulance health care assistant Andrew Bell said: “There’s no such thing as a normal day. We run the service seven days a week – from 9.30am until 6pm from Monday to Friday and work a slightly shorter day at weekends.
“The calls are answered by the switchboard – they are a great team who get the messages to us straightaway when there is a patient who needs the service.
“Routes are planned as they come in and patients are booked onto the ambulance.
“We work closely with the discharge nurses to make sure patients have everything they need before going home.”
Ambulance health care assistant Ryan Gilbey, who works part time with the service, added: “Between us we’ve never had a day off sick in three years.
We’ve been friends for a long time – we wouldn’t want to let the team down.”
Rabina Tindale, senior clinical matron for accident and emergency, who manages the team, said: “The service is really valuable to the patients. It’s important to get patients home quickly.
“You’ve got to have a good team and we certainly have. They’re brilliant.”
Shaun added: “You do get your stressful days but we enjoy the job. We love the variety. We get to know the patients on their journey home. The most important thing is that we’re valued by the patients. It’s important to make sure they get home safely. We take them into their home and make sure they are safe and warm.”