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10 years of cycle paramedics

Cycle paramedics celebrate 10 years at Heathrow.

10 years of cycle paramedics
By Heathrow
The London Ambulance Service cycle paramedics at Heathrow Airport today celebrated 10 years of treating patients and saving lives – including the life of Graham Clark nine years ago. 

The Heathrow Cycle Response Unit (CRU) is made up of 15-life saving paramedics who respond within seconds of the emergency call being  received. They’re also the only unit of their kind in the United Kingdom.

A ceremony was held at Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal to mark the anniversary with VIP guests, a survivor airport worker Graham Clark, who owes his life to the unit, and medic Mike Hampson.

Graham shares a special bond with Mike, after Mike saved his life in 2005 – and they were reunited at the ceremony. Graham’s grandchildren were also on hand.

A brand new cycle responder bike, donated by Heathrow Airport Limited, was presented to the London Ambulance Service by Heathrow Health and Safety Director Mike Evans to celebrate the occasion.

“Keeping our passengers and everyone who works here safe is a core value for us,” Mike Evans said.

“We are pleased to celebrate the anniversary of London Ambulance Service at Heathrow in this entrepreneurial partnership. Heathrow is proud to present this world class team with a new medically equipped bike to help take care of future visitors.”

The day Graham Clark’s life was saved by a Heathrow cycle paramedic…

Nine years ago to the day, on August 6, British Airways worker Graham was at work at Heathrow’s Terminal One when he began to suffer severe pain in his chest and arms.

Within seconds he lost consciousness and stopped breathing.Within seconds of the 999 call being made, cycle medic Mick Hampson had reached Graham and was able to re-start his heart after three attempts, using the portable defibrillator that is carried on ambulance bicycles.

“I was definitely in the right place at the right time. The fact that we are based here and I was able to get to him so quickly most probably made the difference between life and death.”

Mick Hampson

Graham still works at Heathrow and attended the ceremony today with his two young grandchildren.

“All I can remember is saying to my colleagues that my chest and arm hurt. After that, everything went blank,” Graham said.

“I’m so grateful to Mick and my colleagues. It’s as if I’ve been given a second chance.”

How it all started…

The CRU started out as an innovative trial back in 2004 to look at how paramedics could get to injured people quickly and with the right equipment, given the large passenger numbers and sheer size of Heathrow Airport.

In its first year alone, the bicycle paramedics attended 473 incidents, and quickly proved their worth as they were able to reach areas ambulances could not.

Since then, the unit and their work have increased with 5,915 incidents attended in 2013-14 and over 42,000 patients having been treated in the last decade.

Up to 75% of these cases now – compared to 34% back in 2004 – are resolved on scene, meaning the medic team deals with the incident alone, saving on the use of vital double crewed ambulances.

Over 4,000 cases have been of a serious nature including cardiac problems.