EXTRA doctors and nurses will be drafted in for the Tour de France amid fears that spectators will fall down potholes and get lost on the moors.

With up to a million people expected to descend on North Yorkshire to watch the race, emergency services say they are prepared.

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, and James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, will bring in extra medical staff over the weekend of July 5 and 6.

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Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it was making special preparations and will have more staff on duty.

Donna Jermyn, emergency planning officer and Friarage Hospital manager, said: “The trust has been involved in a number of regional planning meetings in preparation for the Tour de France Grand Depart on July 5 and 6 and has its own operational response plan in place.

“During the weekend, patients are advised to choose the most appropriate service to ensure they are treated quickly."

Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team is working with neighbouring teams, including Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team, to provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the Yorkshire Dales throughout the weekend.

Volunteers have practised extracting causalities from the 20m deep Buttertubs potholes, which lie beside the Grand Depart route between Wensleydale and Swaledale and are expected to be a popular viewing point for spectators.

Teams have also trained to remove injured spectators from the valley bottom beside the Buttertubs Pass.

Although the volunteers were training for dramatic rescues, Steve Clough, SMRT controller, said the most likely problems were spectators sprains or getting lost on the moors.

He added: "About 20 volunteers will be there at the Buttertubs just in case from Friday night.

"We will have three vehicles, as well as satellite communications."

"It's clearly an area where there is more risk to spectators than watching the race in the middle of Hawes for example."

Police forces in Yorkshire say they have worked together to ensure a safe and secure event.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “The staging of the Grand Départ is a great honour for Yorkshire and it is telling that thousands of local residents have come forward to volunteer their support."