Taxi drivers in the capital are being sent on lifesaving first-aid courses so they can better help patients let down by a failing ambulance service.
According to the Sun, the Knowledge+ course will give drivers access to childbirth simulators, resuscitation mannequins and defibrillators.
Up to 17,500 cabbies in London will get St John Ambulance training to treat acid attack victims, help women give birth and deliver CPR. Some 71 per cent of taxi drivers have taken a passenger to hospital in an emergency.
Half have been booked by passengers as an alternative to an ambulance, a poll of 1,300 drivers by the mytaxi app reveals. The survey found seven per cent of drivers have experienced a passenger having a stroke or heart attack in their cab.
The London Ambulance Service became the first in Britain to be put into special measures in June 2015 and is still rated as “requiring improvement”.
Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission found most shifts were failing to meet response time targets for the most serious calls during its last inspection. And they wrote: “Patient safety was at risk due to delayed treatment and non-conveyancing to hospital.”
London Ambulance Service has admitted sending 240 patients to hospital in minicabs every week as it struggles to cope with demand. Garrett Emmerson, chief executive of the London Ambulance Service, said they get to the most serious calls in an average of seven minutes 19 seconds. He added: “This is a great idea – London already has the world’s most knowledgeable cabbies and this will help them provide a first-class service to locals and visitors alike.
“We know that the sooner lifesaving treatment starts, the better the outcome for the patient.
“Trained first aiders, wherever they come from, can help improve survival rates even further.”
The first aid course is delivered by the charity St John Ambulance and is open to all mytaxi drivers, with the firm footing the bill.
Michelle Kerrigan, from St John Ambulance, said: “Due to the nature of the job, we know that taxi drivers are increasingly first on the scene.
“The ability to be able to give first aid in those crucial first minutes will undoubtedly save people’s lives in the capital.”
Mmmm… It is highly commendable that London cabbies working for mytaxi are able to be trained by St John Ambulance on CPR and other lifesaving techniques. Questions: What about the other London cabbies: do they qualify? Would such training be made available to them free of charge (ie. paid for by a corporate)? Mainly, this article states that the London Ambulance Service has admitted sending some 240 patients a week to hospitals in minicabs. That statistic applies to the private hire sector in London; what about lifesaving first-aid courses for private hire drivers? – Ed.