With exclusive access to West Midlands Ambulance Service at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in April, this documentary series offers an intimate look from the perspective of the crews, control room staff and managers as they deal with the human cost of the biggest ever challenge to the service. At its peak, the West Midlands was the hardest hit of any part of the UK outside London. On its busiest day, the 111 call centre experienced a 300% increase in volume, with only 4% of calls answered. Eighteen-year-old student Ollie and 55-year-old retired sales manager Jackie try to squeeze five weeks of call handler training into just a fortnight. To get more ambulances onto the frontline, managers deploy student paramedics. Twenty-one-year-old Sam and 20-year-old Caitlin hit the road, encountering patients with breathing difficulties, patients in care homes, and patients with mental health issues that appear isolation-related. After just two shifts, Caitlin falls ill with Covid-19 symptoms and needs an urgent test for the virus.
Paramedics: Britain’s Lifesavers – Monday 9pm on Channel 4