Jess Owen 7th August 2018
Our ambulance services play a vital role in saving people’s lives. They are quick to arrive at an incident, provide care at the scene of an emergency and treat patients while travelling to the hospital. We think of ambulances being there to help people, but in some cases, they are the reason people require their assistance in the first place.
Approximately 207 people were hit by ambulances across England in the five-year period to May 2018, Freedom of Information requests by The Overtake have found.
There are ten ambulance trusts across England who are there to support the different regions of the country, and most people were hit by these emergency vehicles in London.
Vehicles from the London Ambulance Service hit 83 people over the six-year period. This trust only covers an area of 607 sq miles, but due to the high population density and with London being so busy, it is unsurprising that most of the accidents have occurred in the capital.
The second most accident-prone area was Yorkshire (50 incidents), followed by the North West (22 incidents), South East coast (15), East Midlands (9), West Midlands (9), North East (8), and the South West (8).
“While one collision is one too many, it should be noted that given we receive more than one million calls every year, nine incidents across the six-year period represents an incredibly small percentage,” says a spokesperson for the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
“We are, of course, not complacent and monitoring the driving standards of staff is an ongoing process by local management and mentors.”
The fewest accidents happened in the East of England, where only three people were hit by ambulances. However, the only known death that was discovered from the FOI investigation, occurred in this region. The person was struck by an ambulances’ wing mirror and died later in hospital.
“All our emergency response drivers must do a nationally recognised four-week course before being allowed to drive,” says Adrian Tayler, driver training and standards manager for the East of England Ambulance Service.
Drivers of ambulances are trained to look out for all additional hazards
“On top of the usual precautions for any driver on the road, drivers of ambulances are trained to look out for all additional hazards and will use emergency warning equipment where appropriate.”
Not all ambulance services were able to provide extra details of collisions, however the North West Ambulance service explained the different types of injuries incurred.
In this region, which covers Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire, one person suffered a haematoma to his calf, another injured only their nose and someone else endured a sore buttock.
What happens after
So, what happens when someone is hit by an ambulance?
If a vehicle is involved in a road traffic collision, then they initially follow the rules of the Highway Code, according to the ambulance services The Overtake spoke to.
Crews have a duty of care to provide medical assistance
“If there are injured persons at the scene, then crews have a duty of care to provide medical assistance if they are in a position to do so,” says a spokesperson of the South East Coast Ambulance Service.
“The crew will inform our Emergency Operations Centre that they have been involved in a collision and an appropriate response will be dispatched, if required. Transportation of casualties will be decided at the scene of the incident.”
Many cases are still ongoing, but it should be noted that most accidents over this period occurred because the pedestrians were at fault. Of course, there have been some incidents which resulted in shared liability and some ambulances were solely to blame too.
So, the next time you hear the piercing sound of an ambulance’s siren, be sure to stay out of the way or you too could end up with a sore buttock.
Jess Owen 7th August 2018