According to a survey of 1,300 London taxi drivers, half have been called out by passengers to take them to hospital instead of calling an ambulance.
With ambulance services strained in the Capital and response times perhaps slower than taxi call-out times, this isn’t surprising. However, it does highlight that taxi drivers are increasingly supporting the emergency services and facing potentially dangerous situations without training to handle it.
The survey, carried out by e-hailing app mytaxi, also reveals that 71% of respondents had made emergency trips to hospital for passengers with serious medical issues including burst appendixes and broken ankles. Others have experienced passengers having serious episodes while in their cab such as strokes or heart attacks.
Nearly a quarter of those surveyed had come to the aid of the public following a terrorist attack. One driver even had a passenger who had been shot in the stomach.
In response to the clear need for additional training, Mytaxi has developed Knowledge+, a programme backed by St John Ambulance which teaches drivers essential health, safety and people skills for coping with emergency situations.
The course will cover first aid techniques such as CPR and how to use a defibrillator, treating burns, and other useful skills such as reading body language.
Michelle Kerrigan, National Partnerships Manager for St John Ambulance, said: “Taxi drivers are increasingly first on the scene in an emergency, and we know that administering first aid in those crucial first few minutes can be the difference between life and death.”
Former Head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, Chris Phillips, highlighted the role cab drivers often play in terrorist attacks: “Threats to the nation’s capital are changing at an unprecedented pace. You can pretty much guarantee that whatever incident happens in London, a black cab will be at the scene or nearby. Professionalising their response is a brilliant way to help keep Londoners safe.”
While the Knowledge+ course is aimed at black cabs, private hire cab fleets should also consider this type of training for their drivers and operators, who will almost certainly face similar emergencies when on duty.
If you would like a copy of the mytaxi Knowledge+ information document, email us for a copy of the pdf.