Returning motorcycle paramedics to operate from Ilford

Richard Webb-Stevens, interim head of Motorcycle Response Unit

Richard Webb-Stevens, interim head of Motorcycle Response Unit - Credit: London Ambulance Service

Motorcycle paramedics return to London’s roads today (November 1), with some operating out of Ilford. 

Since the start of the pandemic, paramedics from the Motorcycle Response Unit (MRU) have been deployed in other roles as the London Ambulance Service (LAS) adapted its fleet in response to Covid-19. 

But now the MRU is relaunching exactly 30 years after it was first trialled by the LAS. 

Riders will work out of Croydon, Ilford and Waterloo, spending half their shifts responding to the most seriously ill or injured patients and the rest of their shifts working in the 999 control room. 

New technology on paramedics’ bikes means that riders can now respond to calls across the capital where previously they could only work in certain locations. 

Richard Webb-Stevens, interim head of MRU, said: “We are really excited to be back on our bikes supporting the trust and delivering a high standard of care to our patients by reaching the sickest the quickest. 

“In life-or-death situations, every second counts and the freedom we have on a motorcycle to access areas other vehicles can’t reach means we really can make a difference to people’s lives.” 

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According to the LAS, motorcycle paramedics are often the first paramedics on scene, for instance when they responded to the Westminster terror attack in 2017. 

They are often able to reach patients more quickly in busy, built-up areas where it can be difficult to get ambulances or cars through. 

The bikes carry the same life-saving equipment as ambulances, including a defibrillator.   

There are almost 30 motorcycle paramedics in the MRU and they undergo riding training with a police instructor before they are recruited.  

LAS chief executive Daniel Elkeles said: “Not only are they back on their motorcycles, but they will also be using their skills in the 999 control room.  

These senior clinicians will be so important as we head into winter – they will be supporting crews in their decision-making and be available to talk to our patients.  

“Our cycle response unit (CRU) colleagues are doing the same thing.” 

The LAS handles more than two million 999 calls each year and attend more than 3,000 emergencies every day.