News / coronavirus

Coach drivers retrain as ambulance drivers to ease shortage

By aphra evans, Monday Mar 23, 2020

A group of Bakers Dolphin coach drivers are retraining as ambulance drivers, in the latest heartwarming example of repurposed businesses helping to combat coronavirus.

Ten drivers from the South West travel firm, who would normally be taking people on holidays, begin training for their new role today.

A further ten drivers will undergo training later this week, with the twenty drivers providing cover in four day shifts.

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The agreement was struck today between Bakers Dolphin and Bristol Ambulance Emergency Medical Services following the government warning against non-essential travel.

Other Bakers Dolphin drivers will be providing school coaches for key workers’ children that are still attending school, so their parents can continue to go to work.

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Rob Johnson, director of operations at Bristol Ambulance (EMS), said it was of particular importance to find local drivers that were available right away.

“Our own dedicated team will not be able to work all the hours we are expecting to keep up with the demand for our services,” he commented. “We also have to ensure that our staff are able to self-isolate if a family member is ill without impacting our service delivery.

“We are delivering specialist training that the drivers need to have before they can start but their knowledge of the locality, excellent driving skills and customer service will all be used while they are with us.

“In order to minimise any risk to these drivers, our crews, or our patients, the Bakers Dolphin team will be utilised on our routine patient transport journeys and will not form part of our Accident and Emergency response.”

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