First patients at Peterborough ‘field hospital’

A man with a head injury is bandaged up at the field hospital. (METP-18-12-10RH20) Picture ROWLAND HOBSON/Peterborough ET
A man with a head injury is bandaged up at the field hospital. (METP-18-12-10RH20) Picture ROWLAND HOBSON/Peterborough ET
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DOCTORS, nurses and police have been out on the city centre streets caring for pre-Christmas revellers at a new temporary ‘field hospital’.

The Peterborough Care Facility was set up in Laxton Square for the first time on Friday night (17th December), caring for injured people in the street to reduce ambulance call outs or trips to Peterborough City Hospital’s accident and emergency department.

The tent was manned by police, two nurses, a doctor, a paramedic, St John Ambulance first aid volunteers and Salvation Army members.

Plummeting temperatures saw fewer people in the city centre than usual for the weekend before Christmas – but the care facility workers were kept busy speaking to revellers and ensuring they went home safely.

The medics were liaising with city centre CCTV operators to spot people in need of help and this alerted them to their first casualty at 11pm – an intoxicated teenager found passed out in freezing temperatures behind a parked lorry.

Medics covered him in a blanket before giving him first aid on a stretcher back at the tent.

SaferPeterborough community safety spokeswoman Debbie Sampson, who organised the tent, said: “We are really pleased with is the fact that we have run this for the first time and it is a real partnership achievement.

“For the St John volunteers it was also an excellent opportunity to learn from the professionals in the art of triage.”

Celia Kendrick, lead nurse at the Peterborough City Hospital Emergency Centre, said; “The facility aims to support the police in managing those people who may sustain injuries while celebrating, while also reducing the amount of people through the emergency centre’s doors and decreasing waiting times for those already in the centre.

“The aim is for people to be treated for minor injuries or receive treatment while they wait for an ambulance. Now the new hospital is out of the city centre, the facility will help those who need immediate treatment and can’t make it to the emergency centre.”

During the night, the team also treated a man who had been hit with a glass three times and a Polish man, who had injuries to his hand and ankle after being assaulted in Lincoln Road.

He was brought to the tent at 2.30am by Sergeant Matt Bill and Police Constable Martin Smith, who were on night patrol.

One blood-soaked man from Wisbech, spotted on CCTV as he drunkenly fell and smashed his face on the pavement, refused treatment before apologising and being directed to his friends to go home in a minibus.

Anthony Kitchener, Emergency Care Practitioner and East of England Ambulance Service senior paramedic, said at the time an injured man arrived, every ambulance in the city was attending incidents.

He said: “This is why we are here, someone like that could have called 999 for treatment, but we are on the scene for immediate aid.”

People queuing for taxis and takeaways came to the tent to find out more.

Darren Hill (20), of Woodston, enjoyed a cup of tea and a chat with the Salvation Army.

He said; “I am not drinking tonight as I have just got out of hospital myself, so I think this is a great way of ensuring A&E doesn’t get clogged up unneccessarily.”

n The temporary centre will be open on Christmas Eve from 8am until 2am and from 10pm until 4am on New Year’s Eve.