There With You: Coach drivers to retrain as ambulance drivers
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 March 2020
Coach drivers from a Weston-based company are to work as ambulance drivers following the cancellation of all national and international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ten drivers have started retraining for their new role after an agreement was struck between Bakers Dolphin and Bristol Ambulance Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
A further 10 drivers will undergo training, with the 20 drivers providing cover in four-day shifts.
Other drivers from Bakers Dolphin will be providing school coaches for key workers’ children that are still attending school to enable their parents to go to work.
Bakers Dolphin managing director, Max Fletcher said: “With all international and UK travel in lockdown until at least the end of April, we have 50 drivers with no work and a business with very little income.
“Bristol Ambulance needs experienced drivers to support it as it expects demand to soar over the forthcoming weeks.
“We set up a straight-forward agreement where we retain the drivers as employees and Bristol Ambulance has a contract with us to supply them.
“Like most other businesses, we are looking at ways that we can get through this and to retain and support our employees so that they can come back to work with us when this is all over.
“It has been an incredibly stressful time, with thousands of cancelations so far and our office staff are systematically working through dealing with alternative arrangements for customers.
“Our business is over 100 years old and helped out in wars in the past providing transport, so this is another chapter in our history.”
Bristol Ambulance (EMS) based in Bristol, has a fleet of 95 ambulances and they will be supporting the NHS as cases of Covid-19 rise putting a strain on the health service.
Rob Johnson, director of operations at Bristol Ambulance (EMS) said: “It was important for us to find local drivers that are available right away as our own dedicated team will not be able to work all the hours we are expecting to keep up with the demand for our services.
“We also have to ensure that our staff are able to self-isolate if a family member is ill without impacting our service delivery.”