UK Specialist Ambulance Service believes that the training of its employees in the skills required to drive any type of vehicle used by the Company, is of paramount importance. Each of the Company’s authorised drivers is aware of their legal obligations under Health and Safety Legislation, and that they have a Duty of Care not only to themselves but also to other members of the public.
To achieve this, the Company has its own Driving School, managed by a retired Police officer who has himself been trained to Class One standard in both car driving and motorcycling, and is a Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructor. In the course of his Police career, he was mainly employed in the Traffic Division dealing with all aspects of driving, from the enforcement of Road Traffic and Construction and Use law, to dealing with all types of major and minor accidents and incidents. As a Traffic Division supervisor, he was also responsible for the investigation of accidents involving Police vehicles and their causes. He is therefore fully qualified to instruct the Company’s drivers in whatever role they are to be employed in, whether it be Patient Transport or ‘Blue Light’ driving.
The School provides a two week intensive driving course for ‘blue light’ drivers, carefully structured to give a steady advancement to the existing skills that each driver brings to the Company. The Driving Course begins with a written test based on the Highway Code and the IHCD Ambulance Driving Manual for which a set pass standard of 70% needs to be achieved to enable the ‘student’ to continue with the Course. The Company is of the opinion that the Student who successfully passes the written test, shows that they have a willingness to learn, a commitment to being a safe and careful driver under conditions which may prove difficult, and that they are prepared to take on board the high level of driving skill and responsibility required by the Company for its emergency drivers. This is followed by classroom training discussing the various issues related to Traffic Legislation, the System of Car Control, speed and safety, the Driver’s Attitude and concludes with an assessment drive in which each student is evaluated on their current level of expertise. The Driving Course also encompasses the use of ‘Front Line’ ambulances and ‘Fast Response’ cars which have different handling characteristics and need to be fully appreciated by the prospective drivers.
The Course provided by the UK Specialist Ambulance Service Driving School is based on the Police System of Car Control, which is also the foundation for many Motoring Organizations Driving Courses including the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the UK basis for Ambulance Driving. The Company’s training programme strictly adheres to the guidelines and protocols as designated by the relevant statutory authorities. All types of roads are covered during the course including town driving, motorways, dual carriageways and rural lanes. At the end of the two week period, a ‘final drive’ is required of all students which also incorporates a safe but progressive exercise in ‘blue light’ driving in a front line ambulance as well as a response car. Both these elements must be successfully passed before the student is authorised to drive for the Company in an emergency situation.
The UK Specialist Ambulance Service Driving School is situated at the UK Specialist Headquarters, but is easily available to any of the Hospital Trust sites for which the Company has Contracts. The School is available to either attend the Hospital if requested, or alternatively the ‘student’ can attend Company HQ. The School undertakes to be of assistance to any of the Company’s driving employees, and where possible to resolve any issues which may be identified either by the driver or by the Company.