TWO childhood friends from Newport are specifically tasked with attending the scene of major incidents, in what is believed to be a UK first.

Former Bassaleg School pupils James Chinery and Gareth Roberts have been on standby to attend call-outs since September 2.

A doctor would usually need to be taken away from accident and emergency departments to attend the scene.

The Welsh Ambulance service said in what is claimed to be a UK first, the pair will provide quicker treatment to patients and ease the pressure on A&E.

The two doctors, on a 12 month contract, are both specialists in anaesthetics.

Each is working out of a rapid response vehicle or a Wales Air Ambulance - Mr Chinery in the north and Mr Roberts in the south - and is sent to appropriate incidents by the control centre.

Newport-born Mr Roberts, who now lives in Cardiff, and who previously worked at the University Hospital of Wales, added: “We’re here to assist the crew already on scene, and work as a team. We’re there if a patient needs that advanced care.”

Mr Chinery added: “Our knowledge and experience means we can advise where is best for a patient to travel, whether it is a specialist emergency department or stroke unit. It might mean travelling that bit further, but us being on scene means we can start that critical care.”

Their official title is Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) doctors.

Richard Lee, Head of Clinical Services at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “There is clear evidence that victims of major trauma do better when they are treated quickly by a senior clinical decision maker. Patients suffering a heart attack or stroke benefit from treatment at a specialist coronary unit or stroke unit.

"“Sometimes this means taking the patients past the local hospital. Our paramedics will sometimes need the skills of the PHEM doctor to facilitate these transfers.

“There is huge potential for pre-hospital care, and the co-ordination of that care to contribute more fully to integrated healthcare provision.”

Their appointment is a joint venture between the Wales Postgraduate Deanery, which provides their educational supervision, and the Welsh Ambulance Service, which provides their clinical placement.