The Island’s ambulance service is expanding thanks to a new partnership with St John Ambulance.
Newly trained, full-time staff from St John Ambulance will handle all planned ambulance transfers for patients on stretchers.
The SJA team will operate between 8am and 6pm seven days a week to transport patients whose journeys have been arranged in advance.
At present Isle of Man Ambulance crews are frequently diverted from planned patient transfers to deal with 999 calls.
The new joint venture will free-up regular crews for emergencies and mean fewer non-urgent transfers are cancelled at short notice.
St John Ambulance was appointed to run the transfer service after an open tender process.
The organisation has employed three full-time staff who have recently completed an intensive training programme to become advanced first aiders.
The trio are now taking steps to upskill further and are working towards qualification as emergency care assistants.
Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford says: “At times our ambulance crews are fully committed responding to emergencies and that usually means another patient’s planned move from Noble’s - to a nursing home, to Ramsey Cottage Hospital for rehabilitation or back to their own home - is put on hold.
“When discharges from hospital are delayed, patient flow slows down, so fewer beds are available for incoming patients.
“Delays create uncertainty and disappointment for the departing patient too, which we want to avoid.
“Our aim with the new service is to ensure transfers are carried out at the right time.”
The SJA unit will also be used to transfer patients from hospital to the airport for planned air ambulance transfer to the UK, and for transfers between other facilities around the Island
A fully equipped vehicle from the existing fleet has been re-liveried for the new service with the wording ’Isle of Man Ambulance Service working in partnership with St John Ambulance’.
The crew and vehicle will be based at Douglas Ambulance Station.
John Gill Chief Officer of St John Ambulance says: “We’re delighted to be the partner providing this much needed service, as it’s a further development of our current working relationship with the Island's ambulance service.
“It builds on our links through the Community First Responder Scheme which trains volunteers in the community to attend incidents where they are closer to them than the ambulance service.”