Paramedics in Newquay are trialling the use of an e-cargo bike for out-of-hours care. Cornwall’s NHS 111 provider, Kernow Health CIC, says the bike will ensure quicker response times than the alternative of sending a car from another town.
The trial has been made possible by funding from Cornwall Council’s Travel to Work grant and sponsorship from local e-bike shop, Fully Charged Cornwall.
The BBC reports that specialist paramedic Nic Pendreich started using the Riese & Muller mid-motor e-cargo bike earlier this week.
“Having this resource will allow us to make extra visits during our weekend and evening services and therefore [increases] clinical capacity,” he said.
The ‘soft launch’ saw Pendreich do a couple of shifts with the bike, during which he made three patient visits in and around Newquay.
“If clinicians had travelled in cars to these visits, we would have lost approximately between two to four hours in travel time,” he said. “In addition, we've reduced the emissions from those vehicles, [as well as] attending to our patients a lot sooner as they were all within five to 10 minutes of our base in Newquay.”
Kevin McSherry, Head of Operations at Cornwall 111 Integrated Urgent Care Service, highlighted benefits for staff too.
“The job of an urgent care practitioner can be incredibly demanding, and you are dealing with some very stressful and sometimes emotional situations,” he said. “The e-cargo bike allows practitioners a ‘mindful moment’ between patients to take in the fresh air and exercise.”
We’ve previously reported on a handful of other instances of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes being employed in healthcare.
Late in 2020, London Ambulance Service paramedics made house calls on e-bikes to help administer that year’s flu vaccinations in a bid to alleviate some of the pressure on GP surgeries.
It was also around this time that an e-bike designed specifically for medics went into use in Paris.
A few months later, medication delivery times to Oxford NHS sites were reported to have been halved by switching to e-cargo bikes.
Underlining their adaptability, e-cargo bikes have even been employed as mobile Covid testing units in Berlin.