First mobile treatment centre for Malta

 Mobile first aid centre for Malta

St John Ambulance Malta has been presented with a mobile treatment centre dedicated to the memory of a popular young volunteer who died while returning from a first aid duty last November.

Vital first aid for islanders

The unique gift, which will be used to provide vital first aid to islanders and tourists, is the result of a joint effort by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and London St John Ambulance.

The centre is a former blood donor unit taken out of service by NHSBT, who joined forces with London St John Ambulance volunteers to turn it into a fully equipped, mobile first aid unit.

It’s the first treatment centre of its kind on the island of Malta, where the ancient Order of St John established its headquarters in 1530.

In memory of a much loved volunteer

It was formally inaugurated this month by the President of Malta, George Abela. The unit is dedicated to London St John Ambulance volunteer George Bairstow who died in a road accident when he was returning from delivering first aid at a fireworks display in Lewes, Sussex on 6 November 2013.

The treatment centre was fitted out and stocked with help from several St John Ambulance regions. It was measured for St John Ambulance livery in Hull then driven through the night by two volunteers to make it to Southampton Port in time to meet the Grimaldi Lines cargo boat which shipped it to Malta free of charge.

Jon Knight, President of St John Ambulance Malta, worked with London St John Ambulance and NHSBT to ensure the old blood donor unit was given a new lease of life and put to good use on the island.

It will be used to provide first aid at public celebrations and sporting events and will be driven around the island as a mobile health clinic, offering blood pressure checks and general health advice. Its handbook contains details about George whose name is painted on both doors.

Jon said: ‘This unit marks a real step-change in the way first aid is provided in Malta. It will provide shelter from the heat and humidity, allowing Malta St John Ambulance volunteers to treat tourists and locals alike in a much healthier environment, which will aid a faster recovery.

‘It wouldn’t have been possible without the fantastic support of St John Ambulance in the UK, and in particular London region, whose volunteers gave up their spare time to help their colleagues 1,300 miles away.’