‘Home is often where the trouble starts,’ said Doctor Keith Smith, recently qualified clinical psychologist and City and Guilds motor mechanic (grade 2). It could be anything from sudden psychosis syndrome to dirty spark plugs which ruins the start of a family holiday. An unfamiliar uncle can prompt latent schizophrenic symptoms that can be treated with drugs that all patrols will routinely carry. Our telephone assistance team can recognise the first signs of, say, phobic anxiety attack and broken fan belt and have a suitably qualified person opening the bonnet and setting up an emergency roadside chaise longue within half an hour of your call. Specially qualified patrolmen and women will wear a white coat over their familiar yellow protective clothing, and in some cases little steel rimmed glasses and bow ties with a discreet AA motif.
But despite the professional image, the AA say they don’t promise an immediate cure. ‘It’s a nuts and bolts approach,’ explained Dr Smith, who is also the face of the ad campaign for the new medical grade Swarfega that all patrols will carry. ‘Obviously if the driver is too nuts to drive, we’ll immobilise both the engine and the driver and call NHS direct, who’ll arrange secure transport and a pay as you go sectioning under the Mental Health Act. The bolts side is more problematic, obviously, and we aim to carry as wide as possible a selection of hardware solutions vis a vis European engine mounts and gaskets. But all too often we simply find a bit of cognitive behavioural therapy and a check on starter motor connections can get you on your way, with a few Diazepam for later. With the NHS so hard pressed for psychiatric beds at the moment, we’re proud to help with the pressure’
It’s understood the next step is for advanced patrol therapists to administer more complex treatments on the go, with the same high voltage equipment commonly deployed for flat batteries being used for roadside electro-convulsive shock therapy. But the Advertising Standards Authority have already had 329 complaints about the new ad campaign featuring the line ‘They’re coming to tow me away ha ha!’