A trial using E-Cargo bikes to visit patients requiring out-of-hours care has been launched by Kernow Health CIC in Newquay, Cornwall, to coincide with national Cycle to Workday on 4th August. The urgent care service is training its practitioners to use the battery powered bike to offer a more efficient service to the people of Newquay, who require medical help at home. Kernow Health CIC, which is contracted to provide the NHS 111 service across Cornwall, has already seen an improvement in the time taken to reach patients, as well as benefits to staff wellbeing.
Nic Pendreich, a Specialist Paramedic, who works for Kernow Health says: “The bike is being trialled over different time-frames across the Newquay locality, mainly at the weekend, which is predominantly when our services receive the highest demand. However, as part of the trial, you will see the bike working evenings as well throughout Newquay to help maximise the amount of data we can collect during the trial”.
With no urgent care car based in Newquay at this time, Kernow Health CIC is keen to use this trial to show that having a bike in the town would significantly improve services for patients. “We're hoping to illustrate that by having a bike located in this area, the patients will have a response that is quicker than waiting for a response car to travel from another town. Having this resource will allow us to make extra visits during our weekend and evening services and therefore increasing clinical capacity,” Nic continues.
During a recent soft launch, Nic spent two shifts on the bike and during that time made three patient visits in Newquay. “If clinicians had travelled in cars to these visits, we would have lost approximately between two to four hours in travel time. In addition, we've reduced the emissions from those vehicles, thus attending to our patients a lot sooner as they were all within five to 10 minutes of our base in Newquay,” he adds. The trial has been made possible by funding from Cornwall Council’s Travel to Work grant, which offers organisations and businesses in Cornwall the opportunity to expand travel choices and reduce car use. Kernow Health has been further assisted by Fully Charged Cornwall, a bike shop who have sponsored the Newquay trial.
Watch Nic’s full interview here:
In conjunction with the improvement in patient waiting times and reduced carbon footprint, Kernow Health CIC has also witnessed an improvement in employee wellbeing with the introduction of the bike. Kevin McSherry, Head of Operations at Cornwall 111 Integrated Urgent Care Service says: “The introduction of the E-cargo bike has been fantastic, not only for our patients but also our employees in the urgent care service here at Kernow Health CIC. Staff are already reporting that they are enjoying getting out and about on the bike in Newquay engaging with the public and benefitting from the exercise that cycling brings.”
“The job of an urgent care practitioner can be incredibly demanding, and you are dealing with some very stressful and sometimes emotional situations. The E-Cargo #electricbike allows practitioners a ‘mindful moment’ between patients to take in the fresh air and exercise.”
Filmed and photographed by Rosie Brown.