The Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service, (GFRS), has transferred the frontline ambulance service it has operated for the past 20 years, to the GHA’s Ambulance Service.

As part of the move, seven new ambulance personnel have been recruited, initially, as Ambulance Care Assistants. Three of the new recruits have been promoted to Emergency Medical Technicians, following the successful completion of the necessary training.

As a result, Gibraltar has all pre-hospital emergency response assets operating under the same umbrella, automatically standardising vital areas such as emergency callout attendances, training, clinical development, protocols and the coordination and planning of major incident response procedures.

The new members of staff have undertaken training and development programmes, which include:

• Clinical Development Courses

• Emergency Response Driver Training

• Vehicles and Manual Handling Equipment

• Major Incidents & Civil Disturbances

• Supporting the Paramedic

• Patient Communication

The training programme, which was recently completed, has enabled the official handover of the emergency ambulance service operated by the GFRS to take place. The handover of the service will not affect the close relations that exist between both frontline services, as joint exercises and practical collaboration will continue. The Gibraltar Ambulance Service is also committed to continue providing clinical training to GFRS frontline staff, as it is important that these professionals preserve the clinical skills they have already acquired.

Chief Fire Officer, Mr Anthony Yusifredo commented on the transfer: “Further to the transfer of the 3rd Emergency Ambulance from the GFRS to the Gibraltar Ambulance Service of the GHA, as agreed by HM Government of Gibraltar, I take this opportunity to thank everyone involved within the GHA and Emergency Ambulance Services staff for the tremendous efforts made in order to achieve their training objectives, so that this transfer could be effectively made within the scheduled deadline. I highlight that that our longstanding, both professional and personal, relationship, will remain solid, as our organisations continue to complement each other in their operational development as partner emergency services, with mutual interests and objectives. As partner emergency services, we seek to protect our community and make Gibraltar a safer place to live in. Without hesitation, the GFRS will continue to make every effort to support GHA Ambulance crews, as and when required, in the execution of their duties.”

Chief Ambulance Officer Adrian Gerada expressed satisfaction with the transfer. He stated: “Although it has been a challenging journey, having all three frontline emergency ambulances operating under the same umbrella, opens a wide spectrum of new opportunities in further developing pre-hospital care in Gibraltar.”

For his part, Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F. Costa MP added: “I am delighted with the transfer of the third emergency ambulance from the GFRS to the GHA’s Ambulance Service, a long-standing Government objective. I think it makes sense to have all vehicles, fitted with lifesaving equipment, under the management and control of health care professionals at the GHA. I have to thank both staff at the GHA and the GFRS, who co-ordinated the transfer seamlessly and for the dedication and professionalism they have demonstrated in achieving this. Further, I wish to express my gratitude to Unite the Union, with whom we have worked closely, to ensure their members’ working conditions were, at all times, carefully considered, during this important transfer of resources.