BLIND and partially sighted patients will be able to identify ambulance crews more easily after a new scheme was launched this month,

The London Ambulance Service (LAS) has adopted a safer process in which blind and partially sighted patients can verify the identity of ambulance crews through a re-contact call with the emergency operations centre.

Ambulance crews will provide patients who question their identity with a unique code which the patient can then verify over the phone.

The scheme was developed by the LAS, which consulted with staff, patient focus groups and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), after emergency ambulance crew member Dean Buttery (pictured) came across an elderly blind man who needed help while Dean was off duty.

Dean said people were trying to help the man, pulling him in different directions and trying to get him to the side of the road.

“I walked over and tried to help him, explaining that I worked for the ambulance service but had no way to prove it,” he said.

Dean said when he was a police office he had a warrant card with the word ‘police’ in braille on it but the LAS had nothing similar.

“In this situation I could have identified myself to the patient enabling him to gain my trust.”

Dean raised the issue with the LAS and a series of workshops and meetings were held to develop the system.

RNIB New Business Manager Michael Page said RNIB was pleased to work with the LAS to improve accessibility for blind and partially sighted people.

“It’s really important that blind and partially sighted people have confidence in the identity of any person who comes to their door and this new initiative is another tool to help people to check this,” Michael said.

“We look forward to continuing to work with London Ambulance Service to improve services for people with sight loss.”