Newcastle medical trio in mercy trek to Mongolia

WITH ravines, mountains and deserts along the way, it’s going to be a journey riddled with danger.

Medical students Sidney Parker, Matthew Brown and Ross Sayers
Medical students Sidney Parker, Matthew Brown and Ross Sayers

WITH ravines, mountains and deserts along the way, its going to be a journey riddled with danger.

But these three medical university students will complete the 9,000-mile trek to Mongolia in an ambulance.

Ross Sayers and his friends Matthew Brown and Sidney Parker will soon be leaving their student homes in Newcastle to complete the challenge for charity.

The trio will use an ambulance donated by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) to make the journey, which is expected to take more than four weeks.

And once in Mongolia the vehicle will be donated to the Mongolian Ambulance Service.

Ross, a fourth-year medical student at Newcastle University, said: Im really excited about it but we know that at some point something is going to go wrong.

We will encounter all sorts of difficulties along the way and an ambulance is probably not the best form of transport to use.

The group of 22-year-olds will set off from the region in June, before making their way to Holland, then onto the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and then Mongolia.

In Ulaanbataar in Mongolia the group will spend eight weeks working in the National Trauma and Orthopaedic Centre.

They will be helping in the accident and emergency department and other areas of the hospital, to improve their medical skills.

The students have teamed up with Newcastle University and Go Help a UK charity that works with local communities in Central Asia to improve their access to education and healthcare to complete the challenge. There is a huge shortfall of ambulances in Mongolia and many of the vehicles are poor in quality.

Ross said: There is a shortfall of ambulances of nearly 20% across Mongolia and those that are provided by the Government are of wildly varying quality.

For this reason the ambulance would then have been donated on arrival to a hospital in Ulaanbataar to improve the overall quality of the Mongolia Ambulance Service and GoHelp would then maintain the ambulance on a day-to-day basis.

The group will be updating a blog and video diary, as well as social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, along the way. They will be using a regular accident and emergency ambulance, which has been used in the North East but has reached the end of its seven-year service.

Bosses at the NEAS will also give the boys a special three-week driving course, normally undertaken by those employed to drive 999 emergency vehicles.

Geoff Craik, who is in charge of the NEAS vehicle fleet, said: We are delighted to help such a good cause. The ambulance the lads are taking had just reached the end of its service period of service with NEAS, but theres still lots of life left in it. Im sure it wont let its new owners down.

All of our vehicles are regularly maintained by our mechanics at Pallion, and the one heading off to Mongolia has been given a thorough checking-over. Its a mind-boggling distance the boys will be covering, but the ambulance is up to the task.

Theyre built to cope with constant use, and a lot of people might be surprised to know that the fleet in the North East clocks up more than 10 million miles every year.

Follow their progress at medics2mongolia.


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