The Tour is coming!

Great Britain is hosting the start of the Tour de France in July, and following the success of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome over the past two years we expect there to be a lot of people following the event. The Tour will start on Saturday, 5th July, and spend the first two days in Yorkshire. The third stage, on the 7th July, will start in Cambridge and wend its way through Cambridgeshire and Essex before finishing in London.

This will have an impact on our emergency operations and patient transport services on the day, with road closures in place for a protracted period. In addition, there will be a convoy of approximately 1,000 vehicles, as part of the tour caravan which precedes the cyclists, which will take in excess of one hour to pass any one point on the route.  Cambridge city centre and the route into Cambridgeshire will be virtually inaccessible on the 7th July with some areas having restricted access from the evening of the 6th July. Road closures in Essex will develop through the morning of the 7th July with all closures in place by 10.30am.

Where exactly will the closures be?

We will be publishing full details of road closures and the timings of these in the next two weeks. Alongside this will be clear instructions for crews on how, and when, they can cross such closures to get to patients. Addenbrookes Hospital and the Rosie Maternity Unit in Cambridge will also be affected due to the road closures in the surrounding area. The hospital is planning to reduce pre-planned attendances on the day, by changing clinic days. Our PTS team are working closely with clinics in Addenbrookes to minimise the impact on those patients who have to get to the hospital on the day (such as cancer and renal patients). The trauma centre will be running as normal and access to the helipad won’t be affected.

We are also expecting up to one million spectators to line the route on the day, with hubs at various points where there will be a higher concentration of spectators, such as Cambridge city centre, Saffron Walden, Epping and so on.

Medical cover

We are not providing medical cover to the event itself.  Medical cover for cyclists is organised by the Tour de France and St John Ambulance will be providing medical cover to the spectators at areas of high attendance or risk under our overall responsibility of care. They will have a mix of foot patrols, cycle response units, ambulances and treatment centres along the route. Clearly however, we will need to respond to any patient who needs emergency medical care and we will be working closely with St John over responding to 999 calls in the vicinity of their response teams.

We have been developing our command and control plan over the last year and working closely with our partners, with some of the key actions being:

  • on the day we will have a full command and control structure in place, with the Gold Commander Dave Fountain being in the Service’s operations cell
  • The race peloton will be supported by  two of our emergency ambulances and two London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedic motorcycles; we, along with LAS and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, will also provide an ambulance officer
  • we will be providing a treatment centre at the road closure point for Addenbrookes, which will be staffed by an emergency care practitioner.
  • Essex will have two DOMs shadowing the tour to provide local management presence if required
  • we are looking to put on extra ambulance cover in Essex and Cambridge on the day
  • in Cambridge we will have a team of cycle response unit paramedics, along with a HALO at Addenbrookes
  • a temporary ‘systems status plan’ will be in operation in south Cambridgeshire to take into account the various road closures
  • Community first responder arrangements are being enhanced for the day
  • operational managers with good local road knowledge will be in  Bedford and Chelmsford control rooms to provide assistance to dispatch teams on the best resources to deploy
  • Air ambulance operations will be managed in south Cambridgeshire and Essex in conjunction with the bespoke command and control arrangements .

More information will be published in the run up to the day, but should you have any queries please contact your manager.


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