Observational Documentary Ambulance Returns to BBC One
Eight-part observational documentary Ambulance returns to BBC One, this time with unparalleled insight into the West Midlands Ambulance Service. Each episode follows the call-handlers and ambulance dispatchers in the highly pressurised control-room, and the paramedics, technicians and specialist Air Ambulance crews out on the ground.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has to respond in minutes to more than 3,000 emergency calls every day from across a diverse region covering more than 5,000 square miles – from rural Herefordshire where the distance to a trauma hospital could be over an hour, to the busy urban centre of Birmingham. With an ageing population, out-of-hours mental health services and GP surgeries increasingly stretched, and many A&E departments overcrowded, the role of the ambulance service is changing.
Episode one: 8.31pm on Saturday night, and West Midland Ambulance Service takes a call from a distraught woman whose husband has collapsed on their lounge floor. The call hander must stay cool-headed and coach the woman and her daughter over the phone in how to do CPR while ambulance crew Katie and Sarah race to help.
By midnight, the impact of Saturday night drinking is beginning to show, as calls pour in to the control-room reporting numerous fights and violent attacks. Controller Glennis has to juggle her time between trying to help a crew who’ve been searching for an elderly man, who’s fallen in an alleyway, and a high-priority call for a street brawl.
In an episode which begins with the life of a man in jeopardy, paramedics Natalie and Nat face an agonising decision of whether to move a woman in advanced labour, or face the risky prospect of delivering the baby at home, knowing she’s already had a stillbirth. In just two shifts, the staff of the West Midlands Service have faced life, death, and resurrection.