Paramedics switch gears at TT motorsport festival

PARAMEDICS from the Welsh Ambulance Service have been supporting the world-famous TT motorsport festival in the Isle of Man.

Every May and June, the world’s greatest road racers gather on the Isle of Man to test themselves against the 37.73 mile ‘Mountain Course’ carved out of the island’s public roads.

The festival attracts 40,000 visitors annually, and when the Isle of Man Ambulance Service made an appeal for mutual aid, the Welsh Ambulance Service answered.

Paramedics Sarah Raddenbury (Gorseinon), Tamsin Turner (Pembroke Dock), Callum McNamara (Holyhead), Aimee Griffiths (Dobshill), Amanda Binks (Aberystwyth) and Lesley Spanner (Gorseinon) were picked to attend.

The team were led across the two-week period by Dorian James, operations manager in Powys.

Dorian said: “The TT is a fantastic learning experience, and you acquire so many new skills.

“For example, we learnt in our induction how to perform a surgical airway procedure and how to use a ‘Lucas-3’ device to deliver mechanical chest compressions, a piece of equipment which only high acuity paramedics in Wales are trained to use.

“Our job was to attend the ‘business as usual’ activity on the island, but if you think the domestic calls would be in any way dull, you couldn’t be more wrong.

“The island’s Mountain Road has no speed limit and unfortunately, lots of race-goers and tourists had accidents here, so what we saw was predominantly trauma jobs.

“We worked really closely with the Isle of Man Ambulance Service and Great North Air Ambulance, which flew patients from the island to the UK mainland.

“Callum even got opportunity to spend time on the air ambulance and ended up in Liverpool and Northern Ireland during some of the transfers.

“It was a completely different way of working there.”

Dorian has extended a thanks to the Isle of Man colleagues who hosted the visit.

He said: “We had an absolutely brilliant welcome from the Isle of Man Ambulance Service.

“From the managers to the ‘make-ready’ staff, they couldn’t do enough for us.

“We presented them with a Welsh dragon plaque at the end of the trip as a token of our appreciation.

“I’d encourage all of my WAST colleagues to think about applying next year.”

Clare Langshaw, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Head of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response, said: “Mutual aid arrangements like this not only enable us to deliver services across geographic boundaries but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for individuals to develop their skills and get a whole new perspective on things.

“It helps to strengthen relationships with our partner agencies, as well as introduce us to new people and new ideas.”

Judith Bryce, Assistant Director of Operations for National Operations and Support, said: “This is the second year that we’ve supported the TT event, and each year, colleagues come back with bags of enthusiasm having experienced something completely different, and lots of ideas for improvement based on what they observed.

“We’re proud and grateful to these seven colleagues for flying the flag for Wales in such a professional way.”

Will Bellamy, Head of the Isle of Man Ambulance Service, added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my personal thanks to Dorian, Sarah, Tamsin, Callum, Aimee, Amanda and Lesley for their invaluable support during the TT fortnight, and for their tireless devotion in keeping both Manx residents and visitors to the island as safe as possible.

“It was a great opportunity for our teams to be able to learn from their Welsh colleagues too.

“I look forward to welcoming more colleagues from the Welsh Ambulance Service to the island in 2024!”

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