See what other GPs have said about the scheme

Dr Ed Ford

What’s the best thing about the scheme?

The best thing about the scheme is that you feel like you are making a real difference; you aren’t under the same sort of pressure as out-of-hours work and you can spend as much time as you need with the patients. They don’t want to go hospital either and so it’s a great opportunity to have a direct impact on patient outcomes, which is extremely rewarding. Working with SWASFT colleagues and paramedics is fun, and they are grateful for the support GP’s can give.

Would you encourage other doctors to get involved?

Yes I would absolutely recommend other doctors to get involved, because you’re given time for quality care, instead of working as quickly as possible and working to time. You don’t have to commit to a minimum number of shifts either. You have the support of entire structure of the ambulance service, and you won’t be put in a position where you are out of your depth.

New opportunities

The GP 999 Car Scheme is enjoyable and offers a whole other side to medicine that we rarely get the opportunity to practice. The blue light work might not be for everyone, but I find it an exciting opportunity to practice great quality medicine.


Dr Richard Speke

Why did you want to work on the scheme?

Paramedics get called to a lot of cases where they feel that the patient doesn’t need to go to hospital, but can’t prescribe or make certain clinical decisions without the support of a doctor. Paramedics do a valuable job, and this scheme is a useful resource for them. I can see it makes a difference when it comes to keeping people at home and saving the NHS money.

Would you encourage other doctors to get involved?

The work is more targeted than a simple out-of-hours home visit car; the dispatchers and paramedics identify the need for GP intervention to prevent admission. I enjoy the camaraderie of the ambulance station and offering my support to the paramedics and SWASFT team.

A typical shift

A typical shift will involve a great deal of variety; telephone discussions with paramedics to give advice or arrange prescriptions, and call-outs to incidents. Sometimes we will attend priority 1 emergency calls if we are the nearest resource. This experience takes you out of your comfort zone - which is good for you every once in a while.

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Paramedics and volunteers will be offering free blood pressure checks for any visitors to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) stand this week at the Devon County Show. The team will also be doing CPR demonstrations and educating the public how to act fast and help save patients who may need quick action when they become ill.

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