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Meet some of the 999 staff from the new ‘Inside the Ambulance’ TV series

Meet some of the 999 staff from the new ‘Inside the Ambulance’ TV series

Ambulance crews from South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) based in Oxford and Portsmouth will be the stars of the show in a new series of ‘Inside the Ambulance – Coast and Country’ that will launch next month (September 2020) on the W Channel.

The Oxford and Portsmouth crews were filmed for this latest series of the long-running programme during an eight-week period at the start of 2020. Inside the Ambulance provides viewers with a unique perspective of life on the emergency services frontline by using body worn cameras and cameras mounted on and in the ambulance which capture everything the ambulance crew come across whilst on shift.

One of those taking part in the filming was Clinical Team Educator and Paramedic, Mike Little based in Oxford.

“To say I was scared was a bit of an understatement – but the production team were really good at putting myself and everyone who took part at ease very quickly. It was strange seeing people’s reactions to us as we arrived wearing body-worn cameras, and of course we were able to switch off our cameras if we felt the emergency we were called to wasn’t appropriate to be filmed.

“I hope the new series shows the public just how hard our staff work and, more importantly, just how hard they need to train to be prepared to arrive at anything from a nosebleed to a plane crash – and anything in between – whilst remaining calm, professional, compassionate and, in some cases, being able to make life or death decisions rapidly.”

Clinical Team Educator, Mike Little

Clinical Team Educator, Mike Little ©UKTV/Kris Askey

Emergency Care Assistants, Vikkie Kesserwan and Ross Shortman, were another two members of the Oxford team to volunteer to take part in the programme:

Vikkie said:

“I moaned like there was no tomorrow on my first filming shift because of the GoPros mounted on us and the adjustments we had to make whilst wearing them, thinking ‘what have I got myself into’? But by the end of the eight weeks I did not want the filming crews to go! I really enjoyed being part of the programme and it will be a little strange seeing myself on TV whilst at work.”

Emergency Care Assistant, Vikkie Kesserwan

Emergency Care Assistant, Vikkie Kesserwan ©UKTV/Kris Askey

Ross added:

“I really enjoyed the filming process and it was a great opportunity to showcase the amazing care, teamwork and empathy that the whole Oxfordshire 999 team displays. As well showing how we respond to serious incidents, I hope the programme also shows that despite the challenges we can still have a giggle from time to time, and that puts a smile on viewers’ faces too.”

Emergency Care Assistant, Ross Shortman

Emergency Care Assistant, Ross Shortman ©UKTV/Kris Askey

Down on the South Coast in Portsmouth, one of the local team taking part in the filming was Paramedic, Mercedes Bateman.

“I really enjoyed taking part in the programme. Although I’m not usually a fan of being filmed or recorded, it was an honour to be able to share a small part of the job that I love with everyone and highlight the varied nature of the incidents and patients we go to. I’m incredibly proud to work as a paramedic for SCAS and it will be great to show viewers the brilliant care and service that we provide for people in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire when they need us.”

Paramedic, Mercedes Bateman

Paramedic, Mercedes Bateman ©UKTV/Kris Askey

Emergency Care Assistant, Ali Alves, was another member of the Portsmouth team to volunteer to take part in the programme:

Ali said:

“I’m really proud to work as an emergency care assistant for SCAS and feel it has been a privilege to be involved with the programme to show the general public just what our day involves. Every shift there are some incredible stories to tell, although sometimes they can be full of sadness as well as joy. I hope viewers enjoy watching some of the amazing patients we help, as well as getting to know some of the team who are always here for them 24-7.”

Emergency Care Assistant, Ali Alves

Emergency Care Assistant, Ali Alves ©UKTV/Kris Askey

‘Inside the Ambulance – Coast and Country’ begins on the W Channel next month (September 2020) with a new episode scheduled every weekday (Monday-Friday) for a two week period. The programme is made by Brown Bob Productions who filmed with SCAS in Oxfordshire from 13 January-8 March 2020. Filming started in Portsmouth on 27 January and was scheduled to run until 22 March, but was stopped on 13 March as a result of the escalating coronavirus outbreak. Over the course of filming period at both bases, the cameras followed 112 shifts completed by 67 frontline staff based at SCAS’ Oxford City Resource Centre on the Churchill Hospital site and North Harbour Resource Centre in Cosham, Portsmouth.

Additional notes

  • Photos are copyright of UKTV and Kris Askey (© UKTV/Kris Askey)
  • Inside the Ambulance is available on the W Channel – Sky 109, Virgin Media 125, BT 311, TalkTalk 311
  • The programme is one of W’s highest rating shows and prior to the move to SCAS, had followed crews from West Midlands Ambulance Service for 10 series and reached an audience of over 12 million adults across all episodes (including repeats)

Evening and weekend paramedic-led services return to Chipping Norton

The First Aid Unit, run by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) Specialist Practitioners from the Chipping Norton Health Centre, was temporarily closed in March as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission from people dropping in to use the service.

From today (11 August), the service will return as the Chipping Norton Integrated Primary Care Service – operating from 5pm-9pm Monday-Friday and 10am-9pm weekends and bank holidays. The service will remain based at the Chipping Norton Health Centre and will continue to be run by SCAS Specialist Practitioners.

Mike Lowe, Specialist Practitioner Manager, at SCAS, said:

“We have been working hard with our partners at the Chipping Norton Health Centre and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to bring back this valuable out-of-hours urgent care service for local people. I am delighted that the service is able to operate safely again, though with one or two changes in place to maintain patient and staff safety in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic.

“As well as the change in name, patients now need to book an appointment over the phone. This ensures that we don’t have a situation where there could be a number of patients waiting in the small waiting area, which increases the risk of possible Covid-19 transmission.”

To book an appointment:

Please call 111. Your condition will be assessed and if appropriate you will be given an appointment to attend. This is no longer a walk-in service..

Mike Lowe added: “I would ask patients from the local area wanting to use the service to please bear with us as we all adapt to this new way of working. Whilst we can no longer offer a drop-in service, we continue to explore options with our partners to develop the booking system further and hope to make another announcement in that regard shortly. If you are unable to speak to the specialist practitioner on duty immediately, do please try calling again a few minutes later.”


Dacia Duster is a life saver for SCAS

Dacia Duster is a life saver for SCAS

Medical bag goes into car

Those in need of urgent medical assistance in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hampshire may well find that it is a Dacia Duster coming to their aid after SCAS took delivery of 40 for use by its Community First Responders.

Funded by South Central Ambulance Charity (SCAC), which supports SCAS by providing services, projects and equipment that are not supplied by Government NHS funding, the new Dusters are manned by specially-trained volunteers who provide a rapid response to many 999 calls where an ambulance is requested. Due to the volunteers’ locality, they can often arrive quicker than an ambulance and administer potentially life-saving pre-hospital treatment. There is no NHS funding available for the CFR programme, so all their equipment, vehicles and uniform are funded through public donations to the Charity.

It’s not the first time that we have turned to the Dacia Duster for support. The order follows a successful partnership between the Trust and the UK’s most affordable car brand where a 4×4 version of the award-winning SUV was supplied in 2016 for use by Windsor Community First Responders. Although scheduled for a one-year period, so successful and essential was the loan that the Duster served as a Dynamic Response Vehicle (DRV) until 2019, helping 100s of residents throughout Berkshire with urgent medical assistance.

New CFR car side view

The new Dusters replace several ageing vehicles, which are now requiring significant attention to deliver a level of reliability that the role of a DRV demands.

Coupled with unrivalled value for money, the versatility and reliability of the Trust’s original Duster were key influences in SCAC’s decision to invest in a new Dacia fleet. The order consisted of 27 4×2 Comfort versions and 13 4×4 Prestige variants, the latter being deployed in more remote and rural areas where the all-wheel drive allows crews to reach patients in hard to reach areas as well as those that have been taken ill in the street, at home or at their work place. All are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre TCe petrol engine, which is paired to an efficiency-enhancing six-speed manual gearbox.

The fully-liveried Dusters have been kitted out to the Trust’s exact specifications. The bespoke conversion includes additional lighting and storage solutions for such essentials as a defibrillator, oxygen, masks, bandages, Entonox and other medical supplies.

On choosing the Dacia Duster, Vanessa Casey, Chief Executive of the South Central Ambulance Charity, said: “It was fast becoming apparent that a number of the vehicles used by our volunteers were no longer reliable or cost effective to run and there was no replacement scheme in place, so the ideal solution was for us to invest in a brand new fleet.

“We’re a charity though, so it’s essential we stretch our funds as far as possible. With the Dacia Duster we already knew it was perfect for the job in terms of reliability and space, plus it delivered the all-important value for money both in terms of initial purchase and running costs. With the added support given to us by Dacia UK we were able to secure a fleet that was both affordable and reliable. It’s there to do a function above all else, but feedback from our volunteers has been excellent in terms of the drive and feel. Some were a bit sceptical at first, but they’ve certainly been won over by what the Duster offers.” 

Community First Responders are highly trained volunteers working in their communities.  Trained and deployed by SCAS, CFRs are sent to category 1 emergency calls such as cardiac arrest, heart attack, breathing difficulties and strokes. In most cases they can reach a patient before the first ambulance crew arrives and can start life-saving treatment for the patient. CFRs are a key part of the ambulance services frontline emergency response and as such hugely valued by the organisation and the communities in which they operate. 

Although spread across different counties that cover approximately 3,554 square miles, the volunteers were able to meet up and share their impressions of the Dacia Duster at Thruxton race circuit. The gathering marked the first time that the new vehicles and their drivers had come together since the Dusters arrived in the country, the Hampshire race circuit providing an easily accessible venue for all the volunteers and SCAC to mark the special occasion.

Luke Broad, Head of Brand at Dacia UK, added: “It’s fantastic to see the Dacia Duster take on such an important role and see how confident the Trust and its volunteers are in its ability. The order is the perfect illustration of how effective Dacia is in offering high quality, robust vehicles for little cash outlay and we’re delighted that the Duster is the perfect fit for the challenging requirements of both the Trust and its charity.”

The Dacia Duster offers a broad range of engine and trim level options, there’s a Duster for all occasions. The comprehensive petrol and diesel line-up has recently expanded with the addition of the TCe 100 Bi-Fuel LPG option, delivering an impressive combined range of over 620 miles and low CO2 emissions in LPG mode.

A wide choice of trim levels are also available, made up of Access, Essential, Comfort, SE Twenty and Prestige options, all of which deliver outstanding value for money and a generous level of standard equipment, while also bringing new levels of comfort and technology to Dacia models.

SCAS partners with GoodSAM

SCAS partners with GoodSAM

SCAS partners with GoodSAM

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is launching a ground-breaking digital product – GoodSAM’sInstant On Scene – to enable the public to stream video directly from their smartphones into the SCAS 999 Clinical Coordination Centres(CCC). The system is set to revolutionise triage for the Ambulance Service, ensuring medics can now see what the patient sees in just a few seconds. It will enable SCAS’s 999 CCC staff to send a text or email message to a caller containing a link which, when clicked on, enables video to be streamed live from the caller’s smartphone directly into the CCC.

There’s nothing to download and no logins, the system works on any smartphone and on any network; its use is entirely voluntary. All data is securely transmitted with end-to-end encryption and no video is recorded, so members of the public can be absolutely confident that their information is safe.

The 999 call continues while the video is streaming. Instant on Scene will help ensure patients are quickly assessed and given effective medical advice. It will support SCAS in better understanding the level of care or resources which may be required to deliver the best patient outcomes.

Live Links in Control Room
Live Links in Control Room

Luci Stephens, Director of Operations (CCC) said: “This marks the start of an exciting new chapter in patient care by SCAS. We have previously been able to resolve patients’ healthcare issues, either by the dispatch of an emergency ambulance, by referring them to other areas of the NHS to receive ongoing care or by advising them over the telephone how to manage their symptoms at home. Using GoodSAM’s Instant On Scene brings an additional visual layer to our well-practiced processes and procedures and this will help to ensure that our patients get the right care, in the right place and at the right time. Patient safety remains at the he art of everything we do, and video consultations will provide exceptional support in allowing us to achieve this goal”.

Ali Ghorbangoli, Technical Director and Co-Founder of GoodSAM said: “Developing a highly accessible and simple to use system is central to success. Our products are designed specifically for emergency situations – no apps, downloads or logins are required”. It is anticipated that the video solutions will translate into life-changing outcomes, enabling SCAS to respond more rapidly and appropriately. Instant On Scene will also support major incidents and enable emergency services to share video streams in real-time.

Medical Director and Co-Founder of GoodSAM, Professor Mark Wilson said: ‘In emergencies, time is vital in saving a person’s life or reducing long-term disability. Often Ambulance Services have limited information from bystanders about a patient’s, or multiple patients’, injuries to make decisions. Instantly being able to see the scene radically improves situational awareness. We are incredibly excited to be bringing this technology to SCAS, and we look forward to working with them in ensuring the GoodSAM system continues to save lives and further enhance patient care in the region’.

GoodSAM’s Instant On Scene is being rolled out as part of SCAS’s Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme. This initiative is supported by NHS Digital and is designed to leverage technology to improve patient outcomes and staff working practices.

SCAS launches first international partnership in India

SCAS launches first international partnership in India

At the beginning of July, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) was delighted to help launch the first NHS international partnership in Andhra Pradesh, India.

As part of a not-for-profit consortium in partnership with Aurobindo Pharma Foundation (APF), SCAS launched 108 Emergency Response Services (the equivalent of the UK’s 999 service) and 104 Mobile Medical Unit Services (the equivalent of the UK’s NHS 111 service) to serve the 66 million people living in Andhra Pradesh – a south-eastern coastal region of India that is the seventh largest state in the country, with a similar population size to the UK.

The Indian Government has launched a huge investment programme to improve public healthcare in the country. There are considerable differences between private and public healthcare in India, resulting in good healthcare for those who can afford it and very poor provision for those who can’t. National and local government initiatives plan to address the wide gaps in provision over the coming years, inspired by the ‘free at point of contact’ NHS ambulances services available in the UK.

Steve West, Director of Planning and Performance Forecasting at SCAS, who visited Andhra Pradesh with colleagues to help support APF during the competitive tender process undertaken by the regional government before the contract was awarded, said:

“This month’s launch has seen over 1,000 new ambulances going live, in addition to the existing 350 vehicles already in service. The partnership is a real opportunity to share our expert knowledge to help the rapid development of ambulance services and healthcare provision in India, and to make a real difference to so many peoples’ lives.”

Since the impact of Covid-19 over the last few months, SCAS staff have continued to provide virtual support to APF to continue the launch of new services, as well as help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in India. Travel restrictions in place sadly meant that the planned attendance of SCAS representatives at this month’s incredible launch event was unable to go ahead.

The agreement between SCAS and APF is due to run until 2027, with a detailed development plan being worked on to include clinical guidelines and governance, education, wider healthcare system development and a workforce development programme that will see staff from both APF and SCAS travelling to work and learn together in the two countries. The initiative will also create 9,000 new jobs.

This innovative partnership is supported by Healthcare UK, a joint initiative of the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the Department for International Trade, to promote the NHS in overseas markets.

Dr Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, said: “I am really excited that this partnership between Aurobindo Pharma Foundation and South Central Ambulance Service is a new area for India and I am convinced that it is going to be a success. I would like to congratulate Honourable Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy for his foresight in choosing this approach and a partnership with UK experts.”


Rankin unveils powerful portrait series dedicated to frontline staff to mark NHS birthday

Rankin unveils powerful portrait series dedicated to frontline staff to mark NHS birthday

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is delighted to announce that Bracknell-based Paramedic, Stuart Brookfield, is amongst a series of powerful and personal portraits of NHS staff who responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, captured by acclaimed photographer, Rankin.

In a mark of respect and thanks to the NHS, the renowned photographer, who has previously shot the Rolling Stones, Kate Moss and HM The Queen, offered to take portraits of 12 people playing a vital role in the NHS response to COVID-19.

The collection will be showcased across the country at bus stops, roadside billboards and iconic pedestrian areas including the world-famous Piccadilly Lights in central London this week to mark the 72nd birthday of the NHS.

British photographer, director and cultural provocateur, Rankin, said: “As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, I was moved by the incredible efforts of people across the NHS and I wanted to document who they are and their role in fighting this disease. Taking a portrait is a unique and intimate experience, even with social distancing in place. Everyone had their own inspiring story which to them was just doing their job. I hope these images portray the resilience and courage they show every day in the face of real adversity.”

As well as SCAS Paramedic, Stuart, those photographed included an ICU consultant, a COVID-19 critical care nurse, a midwife, a psychiatrist, a hospital porter, a COVID-19 ward cleaner, a GP, a pharmacist, a district nurse, a 111 call centre worker and a chief information officer. All have played a vital role in managing the response to COVID-19 and supporting people impacted by the disease.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said: “This has been the most challenging year in the NHS’ history, with our amazing staff providing care to almost 100,000 hospitalised COVID-19 patients, and many more in the community. Nurses, doctors, physios, pharmacists, cleaners and countless others have pulled together, bolstered by thousands of former NHS staff who came back to help, alongside a new generation of students who stepped up. As we approach the NHS’ anniversary, these striking portraits pay tribute to all NHS staff and their extraordinary dedication. On 5 July we also want to say thank you to those from all walks of life who have played their part in helping the NHS and our communities deal with this unprecedented health emergency.”

The participants have been photographed unhidden by PPE, to reveal the people behind the masks and celebrate the individuals they are. Alongside each portrait, NHS staff have shared their own personal stories from the frontline, providing a unique and touching insight into the lives of the people who are battling this pandemic and saving lives.

Stuart Brookfield, Paramedic at SCAS, said: “I feel honoured to be given the chance to take part in this campaign and to be chosen to represent all my fellow colleagues. It has been a surreal experience attending the Rankin studio in London for a photoshoot – not something you do every day in our line of work! I’m really thankful for all the support I’ve been given in order to become a paramedic and fulfil my dream and incredibly proud to be part of a national campaign for NHS workers, highlighting the significant role we all play.”

The full selection of portraits and their stories can be found here:



The portraits include an ICU consultant, a COVID-19 critical care nurse, a midwife, a general adult psychiatrist, a hospital porter, a COVID-19 ward cleaner, a paramedic, a GP, a pharmacist, a district nurse, a 111 call centre worker, and a chief information officer.

  • Ade Williams, Superintendent Pharmacist, Bedminster Pharmacy, Bristol
  • Ali Abdi, Porter, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
  • Anne Roberts, District Nurse, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Claudia Anghel, Midwife, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Emma Kelly, Critical Care Nurse, Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Farzana Hussain, GP, Project Surgery, Newham, London
  • Jack Hannay Manikum, 111 Call Handler, West Midlands Ambulance Service
  • Laura Arrowsmith, Cleaner, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Marc Lyons, ICU Consultant, East Cheshire NHS Trust
  • Dr Roopak Khara, General Adult Psychiatrist, West London NHS Trust
  • Sarah Jensen, Chief Information Officer, Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Stuart Brookfield, Paramedic, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Photos were taken across four UK locations with reduced crew. The shoot incorporated social distancing measures in accordance with NHS and government guidelines.

This year has been the most challenging in NHS history with staff working around the clock to tackle coronavirus – caring for the 100,000 patients with Covid-19 who needed specialist hospital treatment and treating countless others besides, redesigning services and creating backup Nightingale hospitals.

None of this would have been possible without the help and support of countless individuals and organisations around the country.

Everyone across the NHS is hugely grateful to the thousands of former doctors, nurses and other health service staff who came out of retirement to battle coronavirus, the fellow key workers – from bus drivers and refuse collectors to social care staff and teachers – who kept the country running  and, of course, all those who stopped the spread of the virus by following the expert advice and staying home to save lives.

Everyone has had a part to play and, in the most difficult days, frontline workers were sustained by the support of the public.

So on 5 July, the day the NHS was founded, the whole country is invited to come together again at 5pm and applaud the commitment, courage and sacrifice shown by so many.

On the eve of the birthday, 4 July, iconic landmarks including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower and Wembley Arch will be illuminated in blue as part of tributes to NHS staff.

About Rankin

Rankin is a British photographer, publisher and film director. With a portfolio ranging from portraiture to documentary, he has shot The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner and The Queen to name only a few. Fearless behind the lens, his imagery has become engrained in contemporary iconography. Synonymous with compelling portraiture, Rankin’s lens captures, creates and unveils icons. His portraits have graced the covers of Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, GQ and Rolling Stone, and he has produced landmark advertising for brands like Nike, Swatch and Dove, and charities including Oxfam and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The portrait images can be accessed here:

Please note: these images cannot be altered or cropped

For more information contact the communications team on 07623 957 895 or email