Cheltenham MP Joins Ambulance Service Shift

Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk has praised the “consummate skill, calmness and professionalism” of ambulance staff, after spending Saturday evening (11th March) on call with the South West Ambulance Service team.

Mr Chalk was crewed with staff member John Middleton.  Speaking after the shift, Mr Chalk said:

“We've seen everything from an elderly patient with a suspected heart attack to a toddler with breathing difficulties. It was all handled with consummate skill, calmness and professionalism. Such a pleasure and privilege to see. Reassuring too.

“I’m extremely grateful to the excellent and dedicated John Middleton - and the SWAS team -  for making me so welcome.  They gave me an important insight into their work. I have nothing but respect for those who put in the tough night shifts to serve our community. It is hugely appreciated.”

Mr Chalk added:

“There really is no better way to gain experience than to spend time learning from our blue light teams on the frontline. Watching the way they work with patients, from first contact to arrival at hospital was a humbling experience.

“For me it reinforced my campaign for a return to 24hour A&E at Cheltenham General Hospital.  Being blunt, it should never have been cut back in 2013. I’m determined that we now pick up the pieces and work to get it back.

“As we know, Gloucestershire’s Clinical Commissioning Group are considering the introduction of a night time urgent care centre at the Hospital. That will certainly be an improvement on the current situation (although that’s no criticism of our wonderful night-time nursing staff). I see it as a vital stepping stone towards full restoration of A&E services. It’s not the finished article but it’ would certainly a major step forward. “