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Thousands of patients are reaching vital hospital and clinic appointments thanks to a band of Welsh Ambulance Service staff driving forward the Trust’s patient transport arm.

Patient Care Services (PCS) staff carry out on average in North Wales, a quarter of a million journeys to hospital and clinics in the region and further afield.
They are driving a fleet of ambulance transport vehicles into communities to give a helping hand to people who will struggle to make health appointments due to immobility or illness.

Staff convey a wide-range of patients including those who need stretchers, patients who use wheel-chairs and patients who have a limited walking mobility.

Rhyl PCS staff member Lorna Vincent has been on the road for over three years, following three weeks of training which included manual handling, driver training skills, child protection and first aid skills.

Lorna said: “I worked at Glantraeth Day Hospital as a receptionist and used to see the PCS crews bringing patients in and out and thought it’s something I would like to do, working so closely with people.”

No two days are the same for Lorna and colleagues, as she can travel to and from local hospital and clinic sites on one day and then be off to Liverpool or Manchester the next.

And while on the road looking after her passengers, Lorna admits the daily patient contact really makes the role worthwhile.

“You do get to know regular patients and build up a rapport… it helps them as sometimes we can be the only people they might see for long while. Sometimes you also get recognised out on the street by relatives who always thank you for looking after their Mum, Dad, Brother or Sister,” she explained.

“Once I went to pick a patient up from a rural area, I knocked on the door and could see him through the window...a smile lit up on his face and he said it was lovely to see me as he hadn’t seen anyone in days.”

“Spending time with the patients on the journeys we do is very rewarding and I treat them all like they are my Gran or Grandpa...members of my family. “

Throughout the travelling they undertake with patients , PCS staff do face highs and lows while looking after their passengers.

Lorna explained: “Sometimes I’ve taken in a patient to a ward on a stretcher, come back weeks later to pick the same person up and they have walked to meet us…that really puts a big smile on your face doing this job.

“You do get close to patients we carry and it does get emotional when you know they may not have much longer to live.”

She added: “The other day I went to pick up a lady and it turned out it was her 100th birthday and she was really lovely to us. You meet some real good people doing this role, a lot of fun people and it’s a privilege to help them get on with their daily lives.”

PCS North Wales Fact File

  • Number of journeys a day – approx 1000 
  • Number of PCS staff 130 operational staff
  • Longest journey this year – sometimes transfers for patients back to Scotland 400 miles +
  • Shortest journey this year – across an acute hospital between units
  • Non Emergency Transport (NET) Centre take approx 20,000 calls per month
  • Customer Services take approx 10,000 calls per month

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