A group of GP practices in Swansea is helping the environment as well as its patients thanks to a new electric vehicle.
The City Health Cluster, which covers eight GP practices in the central areas of Swansea, has received the electric car that will be used by its paramedic to visit patients at home.
Keith Richards works as the cluster’s community paramedic and travels to patients’ homes to assess them as a way of helping GPs who are seeing patients in their surgeries.
“There are eight GP practices in the cluster but some of them have sister practices so I deal with 12 practices in total so I’m on the road a lot,” he said.
“If a surgery has a patient who needs assessing, they’ll give me a call and give me all of their details and I’ll go out and do all of their observations and get their medical history and background.
“If they need any medical intervention then I have a chat with the GP and decide how best to help them.
“I’m still a paramedic but I’m dealing with just one patient at a time for the GP so it’s more of a direct role.
“I can do blood tests and ECGs and I’ve been able to help with administering flu and Covid vaccinations.”
Until now, Keith had been using his own diesel car to travel between patients’ homes and surgeries.
Not only will the cluster’s electric car help cut down carbon emissions, its modern technology will even help Keith in responding to calls.
He added: “Everybody wants to help reduce carbon emissions and this seemed like an easy way to do it because I do a lot of driving around so I was probably adding a lot of pollution.
“It’s more modern than my previous car and I’ve got Bluetooth which makes answering calls a lot easier too.
“It’s also more reliable so the chance of it breaking down and not being able to get to a patient’s house is reduced.
“We’ve all got to do our bit for the environment. There’s no point in telling other people to do something if you’re not doing anything yourself.
“We’ve all got to contribute and I think this is an excellent way of doing it.”
A charging station has been installed at Keith’s home, with plans to introduce more at several GP surgeries within the City Health Cluster, which covers Brunswick Health Centre, Greenhill Medical Centre, Abertawe Medical Partnership, Kingsway Surgery, Mountain View Health Centre, Nicholl Street Medical Centre, SA1 Medical Centre and The Harbourside Health Centre.
When fully charged the car can travel up to 270 miles, with Keith charging it twice a week. From 20 per cent to fully charged takes about six hours.
City Health Cluster lead, Dr Ceri Todd, added: “The City Health Cluster Plan has developed over the last few years to adapt and meet the changing needs of our diverse and growing population.
“We have fostered new and innovative ways of working that support practice sustainability and help ensure we have the right people in place to deliver safe and effective health care.
“This multidisciplinary approach has ensured better access for patients that may require assessment at home.
“The cluster has considered throughout its approach to the delivery of services how it can work to develop and promote net-zero health care in the future.
“With this in mind we began our approach supporting the introduction of an electric vehicle for our valued paramedic Keith.”