ONE paramedic a month in the south west is being injured while getting out of an ambulance, new figures have shown, writes Local Democracy Reporter Josh Wright.

Fifteen accidents have been reported to South Western Ambulance Service in the 15 months leading up to the end of June.

In response, the trust said it has provided its staff with training on how to get in and out of vehicles safely “with appropriate footwear”.

According to figures published in the trust’s latest board report, 15 incidents were reported through its reporting system.

They cover the period from April 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, across the whole of its area – South West England and the Isles of Scilly.

Just under half of the reported injuries were sustained by paramedics attempting to use the sidestep of their vehicle which does not automatically fold out once the door is open.

The trust said all the ambulances involved had been checked with no faults found with the equipment.

However, it has issued a bulletin to staff explaining how the side doors in its ambulances work.

Seven of the total recorded incidents related to people using the front doors of vehicles.

The remaining injury over the period came when a paramedic “fell out” the back of an ambulance.

A spokesman for the trust said: “Our staff are our most important asset and staff health and wellbeing is a top priority which is why we introduced our acclaimed Staying Well Service for our 4,500 emergency crews to access.

“Frontline staff receive health and safety training on dynamic risk assessment, information and training on how to get in and out of an ambulance safely with suitable footwear.

“Staff also have access to annual learning and development reviews on current policies for slips, trips and falls risk assessment.”

The board report also highlights concerns about paramedic injuries being caused by the stretcher system on its new Fiat ambulances which have been introduced in Cornwall in recent months.

Six incidents have been recorded since May 1 this year, including one where the front of a stretcher dropped to the floor while carrying a patient in cardiac arrest.