Wearside's ambulance heroes to star in new BBC series

A new series of the BBC1’s documentary Ambulance, following frontline staff at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) including in Wearside, starts on Thursday, August 11 at 9pm.

With the ambulance service now under unprecedented pressure, the series follows crews across the region including Tyne and Wear and County Durham. The first episode includes the shifts of Washington-based Sophie and Jack and Gateshead-based Lydia and Kirk.

Now on its ninth series, the team from production company Dragonfly were embedded with NEAS to film footage for the BAFTA-award winning series between January and April 2022.

Each of the 12 hour-long episodes features ambulance staff helping their patients during one particular shift, following them in real time with their colleagues in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) where decisions are made in a highly pressurised environment.

Ambulance is on BBC1 on Thursday, August 11 at 9pm.

During filming, EOCs in Tyne and Wear handled 162,257 999 calls and 219,844 111 calls, dispatching ambulance crews to 125,382 incidents; an average of 1,045 incidents per day.

More than 200 people worked on the series, either in front of the camera or behind the scenes to support the Dragonfly team.

As well as featuring emergency incidents, the series highlights a number of issues faced across the North East.

These include mental health, domestic abuse and health and social care issues, as well as delayed responses to patients caused by spikes in demand or pressures across the health system.

NEAS employs more than 2,900 people and covers 3,200 square miles across the North East, serving 2.7 million people.

North East Ambulance Service chief executive Helen Ray said: “The programme really shows how amazing our teams are in their care and treatment of patients.

“It highlights the dedication and commitment from every member of team NEAS as they strive to give the best quality care to every patient they meet. I’m incredibly proud of them all and would like to thank them for representing our service so well.

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"Each episode shines a light on the wide range of patient needs faced by our service; whether that be emergency response for life threatening illness, support for mental health or social care needs, or alcohol and drug use.

“I hope this series of Ambulance also serves to inspire and encourage people to consider joining our service.”