A 4x4 volunteer group has covered over 2,000 miles to drive essential NHS workers through the snow to get to work safely.
Volunteers from the charity 4x4 Response Wales have provided vital transport for staff, from Betsi Cadwaladr University Heath Board (BCUHB) during snowy weather over the last few weeks, so they can safely get to work when their own vehicles cannot cope with the conditions.
The health board has an agreement with the 4x4 Response Wales group as part of its Adverse Weather Plan, so that the specially trained team is able to step in and support staff 24/7 every day throughout the year, to ensure no essential shifts are missed due to adverse weather.
This year, up to 26th January, the volunteers have driven over 52 essential NHS staff to four hospitals and assisted district nurses to make their house visits as normal. 14 individual drivers were deployed at various times, covering 2,086 miles and 102 hours, covering the Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy counties.
Maureen Wain, Wrexham Maelor Hospital Director, said: “I would like to thank the response team and all of its volunteers who helped our staff get to work safely, as well as those they helped get home too. This is a great support to our weather resilience plan and ensures our vital services are not interrupted and that our staff remain safe.”
The 4x4 drivers are DBS checked and specially trained to drive their own vehicles in adverse weather such as snow, ice and floods, as well as advanced off-road training, navigation and communications, first aid, risk assessments and water and flood awareness. They carry a full range of emergency and survival equipment to make them resilient if conditions deteriorate. During COVID-19 they work to a risk assessment which is designed to keep both the drivers and the Trust staff safe at all times.
Leigh Ryder, the Lead Controller for the 4x4 Response team in North Wales, said: “Our team train regularly to ensure that we can respond to requests for assistance from our emergency service partners so that communities get the support that they need whenever necessary, whether that be for adverse weather or other emergencies. In addition to supporting the Trust over the past two weeks, on 21st January we were requested to support North Wales Police and their partner agencies to assist with the evacuation of residents from Bangor on Dee.”
Chief Inspector Jon Aspinal of North Wales Police, said: “We were grateful for the specialist support that the 4x4 Response team provided to our officers at Bangor on Dee recently. They completed all of the tasks allocated to them both safely and successfully which was really appreciated by our team.”
If you have a 4x4 vehicle and would like to help your community you can read more about the North Wales team and contact the 4x4 Response Wales charity at https://www.4x4responsewales.org/ or donate on the ‘North Wales 4x4 Response Group’ Facebook page.