4X4s bringing medical care to Northumberland's isolated areas
Dec 3 2010 By The Journal
HEROES in four wheel drives are bringing much-needed medical care to people in isolated parts of Northumberland in the appalling weather.
Staff from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, Northumberland National Park Authority and even one village shop are ensuring people living in more rural parts of the county to get the health care they need.
A fleet of fire service 4X4s has been ferrying district nurses and other health professionals from Northumberland Care Trust to those in need in the county.
The trust has prioritised its daily calls, cancelling non-urgent visits, and working with the fire service to ensure staff can go about their normal rounds.
The service also helped out last Friday when the doctor’s surgery at Rothbury was unable to deliver prescriptions to patients living in isolated areas, and who couldn’t travel to collect them.
Ian Clough, civil contingencies manager for the county council, said: “It is not exactly life or death but it is helping people and if it makes sure they are comfortable in their homes, it relieves the pressure on other services.”
David Carr, owner of the award winning Londis store at Longframlington, yesterday told how he and shop staff have been out delivering prescriptions in the village. Mr Carr yesterday took delivery of 12 boxes of medication meant for Harbottle surgery, the third time this week that has happened.
Meanwhile, one isolated Northumberland couple last night spoke out about their predicament.
Retired Clive and Norma Dunn live in a cottage at East Lilburn, two and a half miles from the A697, six miles from the nearest shops at Wooler and half a mile from their nearest neighbour.
More than two feet of snow has fallen around their home, with the weather showing no signs of improving. The couple say the road past their cottage is only just passable to tractors and could not be used by car.
The Dunns last went shopping last Wednesday morning and guessed they would have enough supplies to last until today.
Yesterday morning they were close to running out of milk with only dried and evaporated left. If it did not get through, they were contemplating having to use a tractor or walking to Wooler.
Mr Dunn said: “After about a week or so what are the council and the local organisations going to do about it. I do not know what the contingency is for people like me.”
Mr Clough said the council would consider any requests for help.
He said: “We encourage people to help themselves and if anybody is in particular need we would consider that but we are looking at people who are on the care trust client list and most vulnerable at the moment.”