New Thames Valley trial on forced entry for medical emergencies is underway

Fire and rescue services across Thames Valley are involved in a trial to provide a forced entry function where there is concern for the life of a patient.

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service; Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service; and Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire and Rescue Service are all taking part in the six month trial, which aims to improve access to patients who are experiencing certain medical emergencies.

The trial began on Monday 3 April and involves the three fire and rescue services of the Thames Valley providing a forced entry function on behalf of South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) or Thames Valley Police (TVP), where there is a concern for the life of a patient in a premises and ambulance or police crews are unable to make entry.

This initiative and the associated trial aim to reduce the delay delivering medical care to patients, minimise the time ambulance crews are delayed at incidents of this nature and reduce overall cost to the public.

Police have traditionally provided a forced entry function for the ambulance service. However, due to breaking in equipment not being routinely carried, demands on resources and the methods used to gain entry, ambulance services can benefit from fire and rescue services assisting. Fire crews carry the right equipment and can make specialist access, for example, entry at height.

All requests for effecting entry will be made by SCAS or TVP, via control rooms which will channel the request through Thames Valley Fire Control Service (TVFCS), the shared emergency call handling centre for the three fire and rescue services.

SCAS or TVP personnel must always be at the scene before a request can be made to TVFCS.

The trial will be evaluated throughout the six month period for improvements and there will be further assessment should the partnership become a longer term arrangement.



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