Sometimes, between life and death, stand the Ambulance Service.
It’s 8.31pm on a Saturday night, and West Midland Ambulance Service takes a call from a distraught woman whose husband has collapsed on their lounge floor having suffered a cardiac arrest. If the man is to survive, every second counts. Not just answering the 999 call from the man’s wife, but providing CPR advice, dispatching the crews and then the actions of the ambulance staff at the scene.
This is just one of the stories that will feature in a new eight-part observational documentary called Ambulance which will be shown on primetime BBC One from next Thursday 24th August at 9.00pm.
With unparalleled access, each episode follows the call-handlers and ambulance dispatchers in the regions two control-rooms along with the ambulance crews out on the ground as they respond to over 3,000 emergency 999 calls every single day.
Covering a diverse region of more than 5,000 square miles – West Midlands Ambulance Service deals with emergencies in the rural areas of Herefordshire and the Staffordshire Moorlands to the busy urban centre of Birmingham and the Black Country.
During the programmes, you’ll get to see how the staff deal with an increasingly busy service, an ageing population, and the challenges of working with out-of-hours services and GP surgeries as well A&E departments who are also getting increasingly busy.
WMAS Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “The thing that comes over from these programmes is the incredible professionalism of our staff as they deal with the challenges that they are presented with, never knowing what the next call might bring.
“I am proud that we have been able to show the diverse nature of our workforce and how we interact with people from every area and community of the West Midlands.
“You will get a chance to experience the challenges of dealing with everything from cardiac arrests and violent attacks, the second by second decisions our staff face for example deciding whether to move a woman in advanced labour, through to the desperation of lonely elderly patients who have no-one else to turn to. You will also see how those decisions affects our staff as they deal with each case. Sometimes it isn’t easy viewing, but throughout the actions of our staff are exceptional and I am so very proud of them.”
Jo Hughes, Series Producer at makers Dragonfly Television, added: “Ambulance goes way beyond the traditional genre of blue flashing lights television and really explores the stories of people in crisis against a backdrop of mounting pressures, from political to societal changes. We’re extremely proud of the new series which reflects the compassion, diversity of work, and difficult decisions both ambulance crews and staff in the control rooms have to make every day.”