North East Ambulance Service has had the inspectors in – this time in the form of a team of young people from Hartlepool.
Hartlepool’s Junior Inspectors are a group of youngsters aged between eight and 11 from St Teresa’s Primary School. Together they inspect services accessible to young people, such as leisure centres and hospitals.
They inspected NEAS in two halves, starting with the Operations Centre in Hebburn in March. After hearing about the difference between 999 and NHS111 and the impact hoax calls have on the service from team leader Karl Walker, they had a tour of the Operations Centre, and then learnt about the Hazardous Area Response Team from training manager Alun Ross.
A second group then visited Moongate House in April, where clinical care manager Richard Ilderton spoke about his role as a paramedic and showed them around a vehicle and equipment.
The visits were arranged through Hartlepool Healthwatch and voluntary funded youth organisation West View Project.
Billy Littlewood, aged 11, was one of the inspectors involved in the trip.
He said: “I’ve learned a lot about when to call 999 or if you need to call 111 instead. It’s been fun to go onto an ambulance and see what it looks like on the inside and where everything is kept to help people when they are on the way to hospital.”
Mark Johns, engagement, diversity and inclusion manager for NEAS, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to engage with young people on a range of issues and help them understand how they can support us to improve our services for young people.
“Although the children haven’t been able to physically listen to calls or go out with our crews to physically inspect the services we provide patients, we’ve tried to give them as much as an insight into what we do as possible to gather their opinions and help them understand what we do.
“They have also had a look at the activity pack we provide for children when either they or a relative are involved in an incident and will be using the feedback they provide to improve our packs in future.”
The young inspectors will feed back their findings later this year.