Providing new technologies to frontline staff to create a facility for patients to be diagnosed and triaged in an immediate and appropriate medical setting, this type of 5G connectivity will enable paramedics to perform remote diagnostics, supported by clinicians based in the hospital. Sounds great, but there are dire health consequences for both patient and paramedic in this microwave box on wheels. And are we already seeing this play out?
In September 2019, O2, a leading telecommunications services provider in the United Kingdom, announced it will be providing connectivity for a new “Smart Ambulance” at Millbrook Proving Ground, a vehicle testing facility in Bedford. The purpose of the trial is to enable O2 to develop and test the system “before it is deployed on the public network, replicating real world 5G capabilities.” According to the press release on O2’s website,
“The project will involve equipping a standard ambulance with state-of-the-art devices and connectivity to create a ‘Smart Ambulance’ that will simulate 5G connectivity, transforming the vehicle into a unique remote consultation room.”
What could possibly go wrong?
In a concerning series of events, news reports out of England have revealed that three employees at the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) died suddenly last month. An article in the Welwyn Hatfield Times reports that the EEAST employees included: Christopher Gill, 41, who died at Welwyn Garden City’s Birch Court in Howlands on November 15; and another paramedic from Luton, Richard Grimes, and 999 operator Luke Wright, 24, from Norwich also died between November 11 and 21.
The Mirror reports that “Shortly before their deaths a whistleblower wrote to the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s boss complaining about psychological abuse. Former health minister and local Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, who also received the letter, is calling for an independent investigation into the deaths…”