AMBULANCE crews are backing a medical scheme launched by the Lions Club.
West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service has joined the Lions' Message In A Bottle scheme - which allows medical staff immediate access to information about a patient in an emergency.
The Lions are giving vulnerable people a free bottle in which they place vital medical records - detailing medical history, long-standing conditions, serious allergies, medicine information, blood type and contact details of next of kin.
The specially-marked bottle is kept in the fridge and a sign is placed at the house entrance to let emergency services staff know where to find the information.
The bottle goes with a patient to hospital, so that other medical staff can access the details in it.
Paul Smith, Message In A Bottle officer for Lions Clubs nationally, said: "This is a relatively simple idea but it can save a person's life.
"The scheme can benefit many people, including the elderly, those with medical conditions and those who have difficulty communicating."
WYMAS ambulance crews are now taking hundreds of bottles with them to deliver to people they meet on emergency calls and non-urgent patient transport calls.
Jeremy Pease, WYMAS director of operations, said the bottles will be extremely useful to his staff.
He said: "The bottle really can be a life saver. Often when our crews arrive, the patient could be unconscious or incoherent.
"One of the first concerns is to establish if there is an existing medical problem or if the patient is taking medication.
"These two pieces of information are crucial in helping determine the way we should treat a patient."
The bottles are also available from doctors' surgeries, health centres, chemists' shops, dentists, social service advice centres, community housing offices and various community based outlets.
The Message In A Bottle scheme was started by Lions clubs in New Zealand and reached the UK two years ago.
Around 100,000 bottles have already been distributed throughout Yorkshire.
Lions Clubs in Kirklees rolled out the scheme here last September.
It finished runner-up in the Examiner's Community Chest awards, winning £3,000 to help fund distribution of 30,000 bottles.
* Anyone who wants to know more about Message In A Bottle should ring John Daker on 01484 653195, e-mail email@example.com or ring Neil Robertson on 01484 682794, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org