NHS staff are planning to transport patients using two London buses that have been transformed into temporary ambulances, in another sign of the pressure COVID is putting on the capital’s health services.
Most of the seats on the single-decker buses have been removed so that each can carry four patients, to relieve the intense pressure on hospitals and the London ambulance service.
Go-Ahead, the bus company which owns the vehicles, has loaned them to the NHS in the metropolis to help transfer patients, including to the reopened London Nightingale field hospital.
They will be staffed by doctors and nurses who serve in the NHS, particularly in intensive care, as well as volunteers from the St John’s Ambulance first aid charity.
Go-Ahead is also providing four drivers for the vehicles, which have been modified so that vital medical supplies, including infusion pumps and monitors, can be used to keep patients stable and observe their condition.
All have been vaccinated against coronavirus and Go-Ahead has been flooded with offers from its drivers to help.
The buses will also have oxygen on board and will be able to give it to patients who need it, including those with COVID, through a facemask and the electric vehicles will be able to charge the equipment from their batteries.
The first patients are expected to be moved into the buses and initially are expected to be patients from London hospitals who are being moved to the Nightingale at the ExCel arena to receive step down care before they’re discharged.
It reopened last week, but unlike in the first wave, is being used for less sick patients rather than those who are seriously ill with COVID.
It’s believed to be the first time any part of the NHS has had to use specially adapted buses like this to move patients around and staff on board will wear personal protective equipment.
The NHS staff on the buses will be doctors and nurses who work for the Specialist Retrieval and Intensive Care Transfer Service (SPRINT), an NHS service which was set up in March, as the COVID pandemic struck, to move sick people between intensive care units at hospitals in south London to ensure none became overwhelmed.
Dedicated stops have been created outside King’s College and Guy’s hospitals in south London to ensure the buses can park and collect patients and have priority.
The sides of the buses have large stickers saying: “NHS patient transport” and will display the health service’s logo.
But this is ridiculous and all I can picture is people waiting at a bus stop to be picked up for assistance. It’s like a ‘Carry On COVID’ movie, and if this is a serious consideration, why are the Government not enlisting the army to take people to the hospital, because the army has trained medics and transport.
And all the while they’re busy closing and dismantling some of the Nightingale hospitals they built for the first wave of COVID – something doesn’t make sense here.
These Nightingale hospitals were always pointless because we don’t have the extra medical staff to work in them.
They built all these Nightingale hospitals to make it seem like they were doing a great job, and now numerous people have cottoned on to the fact that they were a misuse of money because we don’t have enough personnel to staff them, and the Boris Johnson reign is about smoke and mirrors to make Boris Johnson look good.