Our Bariatric Service is designed to provide a safe and dignified transport solution to those whose weight, or condition require specialist transport. The ambulances mirror Accident & Emergency type layouts with additional equipment, including an extra wide ramp capable of lifting and conveying 600kg utilising hospital beds up to 3ft 6inches wide. A 1 ton electric winch assists in the loading and unloading of beds; inbuilt 12v & 240v mains power, the vehicles in-built 1,000 watt mains inverter ensures all battery powered equipment is ready for immediate use. Either a Ferno Megasus bariatric Stretcher which is expandable to 39 inches wide, or a Stryker Power-Pro TL stretcher which can carry patients upto 70 stones are used throughout our Bariatric fleet.
The equipment carried assists staff in the safe moving and transportation of the patient. Available equipment carried are folding aluminium ramps, Ferno electric stair climber, Mangar Camel & Mangar ELK lifting cushions, Quintal Q2 Motility transfer board and heavy duty patient turner, slide sheets & moving aids, and portable lighting.
Kent Central Ambulance Service originally started providing a bariatric service in 2008 starting originally with two custom built ambulances within our fleet, in 2008 we decided to invest an additional £250,000 to expand our service capability to 10 Bariatric Ambulances.
Mike Swanepoel who is the bariatric lead for UK Specialist says “It is estimated that by the year 2012 there will be a 40% increase in overweight and obese patients, and we need to be prepared for the increase in associated work. It is often the case that the first time the health service know about an obese patient is when a 999 call is made for assistance. Most ambulance services are not fully equipped to deal with the removal and transportation of bariatrics, and this is where we can get called to assist.”
Kent Central Ambulance Service has already provided bariatric assistance to the London Ambulance Service, East of England Ambulance Service, South East Coast Ambulance Service, and as far a field as the Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust and Somerset.
All of the Emergency Medical Technicians working on these units are given additional training. This includes understanding bariatric needs, CPR training on a bariatric manikin, manual handling of the obese patient, risk assessments, and training on all equipment used.