The Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service has transferred the frontline ambulance service back to the Gibraltar Health Authority after 18 years.
The service was under the command of the GFRS for close to two decades, but recently the GFRS has decided to focus on its ongoing commitments and hand over the ambulance service.
Yesterday a third ambulance was transferred to the GHA and now all life-saving vehicles are under the management and control of health care professionals.
As part of the move seven new ambulance personnel have been recruited as Ambulance Care Assistants under the GHA.
Three of the new recruits have been promoted to Emergency Medical Technicians, following the successful completion of the necessary training.
The move has meant Gibraltar has all pre-hospital emergency response assets operating under the same roof.
The Minister for Health, Neil Costa, thanked the GHA and GFRS for their work, adding that it “makes sense” to have all ambulances working together.
“It makes perfect sense to have all pre-emergency processes should be housed and managed within the GHA, that they should be led by health care professionals and that is why we have worked so hard over the past few months to make sure that the transfer of the emergency ambulance to the GHA was a success,” Mr Costa said.
“I want to really stress how impressed and proud we all are of our new ambulance care assistants, they really are a credit to the new profession in which they enter. They have thrown themselves in the training and the study.”
Mr Costa thanked the Fire and Rescue Service for “carrying the baton” back to the GHA after 18 years.
The Minister for the Fire and Rescue Service, Gilbert Licudi, explained that the growth of this service meant it was difficult for the team to keep up with the ambulance service and their other roles.
“The Government agreed that it made sense for the service to come back to the Gibraltar Health Authority and I am glad that over time there has been the necessary recruitment and training to make this a reality,” Mr Licudi said.
Chief Ambulance Officer Adrian Gerada called it a “challenging journey”, but nonetheless was happy with the transfer.
“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 prehospital care in Gibraltar,” Mr Gerada said.
The decision to transfer the ambulance has resulted in the standardisation of emergency callout attendances, training, clinical development, protocols and the coordination and planning of major incident response procedures.
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.
“Further to the transfer of the third Emergency Ambulance from the GFRS to the Gibraltar Ambulance Service of the GHA, as agreed by the Gibraltar Government, 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,” Chief Fire Officer Anthony Yusifredo said.
“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.”