Cycling paramedics deployed by ambulance service to cope with Six Nations crowds



Paramedics on bicycles are being deployed by the Welsh Ambulance Service to handle an increasing number of alcohol-related calls since the majority of Covid restrictions were lifted.

That ambulance the service receives more than 100 calls a day, which are considered immediately life-threatening.

A significant number of calls are alcohol-related, including falls, walks and quarrels, Steve Bennett, chief of operations for the ambulance service, told the BBC.

“It puts a lot of strain on our resources,” he said.

“We’re trying to make it, but there are only so many vehicles we can put out there.”

As a result, Cardiff-based Cycling Response Unit (CRU) paramedics are now rushing to treat patients on 57kg bicycles that can carry the same medical kit found in regular ambulances.

The staff is trained to slowly ride the bikes through crowds, which is especially handy when there are increased crowds in the city due to events like the Six Nations rugby tournament.

“By trying to get a five and a half ton ambulance in through the crowds, especially 70,000 people, you are getting nowhere,” Mr Bennett said.

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“While the bikes are fast, they are nimble, yet they carry the same equipment as a rapid reaction vehicle or an ambulance – the only thing we can not do is move patients.”

Sir. Bennett helped set up the CRU in late 2016 and works in shifts with them, as well as performing his usual tasks.

After thousands of people arrived in Cardiff for last Saturday’s Six Nations match, Mr Bennett and his CRU colleague, Terry Bowsher, helped a man who had fallen between a train and the edge of the platform at Cardiff Central Station.

The couple were on the scene within four minutes and after treating the patient, who suffered life-altering injuries, he was taken to the University Hospital of Wales in the city, Mr Bennett said.

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