Hartlepool schoolchildren inspect work of ambulance service

Hartlepool Junior Inspectors are pictured with Operations Centre team leader Karl Walker and Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) training manager Alun Ross.
Hartlepool Junior Inspectors are pictured with Operations Centre team leader Karl Walker and Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) training manager Alun Ross.

The North East Ambulance Service has had the inspectors in – this time in the form of a team of young people from Hartlepool.

Hartlepool’s Junior Inspectors are a group of youngsters aged between eight and 11 from St Teresa’s Primary School in the town.

Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) training manager Alun Ross shows Hartlepool Junior Inspectors some of their equipment.

Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) training manager Alun Ross shows Hartlepool Junior Inspectors some of their equipment.

Together they inspect services accessible to young people, such as leisure centres and hospitals.

And their latest inspection is North East Ambulance Service (NEAS).

The trust welcomed its first group of young people to its Operations Centre in Hebburn, South Tyneside, last week.

They were introduced to Operations Centre team leader Karl Walker, who taught them the difference between 999 and NHS111 and the impact hoax calls have on the service before giving them a tour of the live call centre, where call operators were taking some of the region’s 999 and 111 calls.

Hartlepool Junior Inspectors are pictured with Alun Ross and Tracy Fowler from North East Ambulance Service's Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).

Hartlepool Junior Inspectors are pictured with Alun Ross and Tracy Fowler from North East Ambulance Service's Hazardous Area Response Team (HART).

They also met Alun Ross, training manager for the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team, who showed them some of the equipment and vehicles used by the team, including a chemical suit.

The visit was organised with NEAS through Hartlepool Healthwatch and the West View Project, a voluntary funded youth organisation which set up the Hartlepool Juniors Inspectors project.

Rebecca Ferguson, service participation for the West View Project, said: “We could see how interested and engaged they were throughout the whole session.

“They’ll now be writing up a report of their experience, where they’ll make recommendations based on what they’ve heard.

Young inspectors try their hand at call taking.

Young inspectors try their hand at call taking.

“I think it’s really important that young people are involved in our local services.

“They are our future and they need to know that their opinions are worth something.

”Being able to see the results of their findings and the changes being made as a result really helps develop their confidence and self-worth.”

Mark Johns, engagement, diversity and inclusion manager for NEAS, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to engage with young people on a range of issues and help them understand how they can support us to improve our services for young people.

Young inspectors try their hand at call taking.

Young inspectors try their hand at call taking.

“Although the children haven’t been able to physically listen to calls or go out with our crews to physically inspect the services we provide patients, we’ve tried to give them as much as an insight into what we do as possible to gather their opinions and help them understand what we do.”

Keona Ongsuco, 10, one of the inspectors, said: “It was really fun.

“We learned all about the different types of ambulances and I got the chance to try on an outfit, which I really liked.”