Community first responders play a vital role in a patient’s chain of survival...

As part of our strategic development, we continue to explore opportunities for providing support to first response, accident prevention and health promotion initiatives, to help reduce the number of avoidable calls on our critical care team. Under the terms of our Memorandum of Association, we can offer support/grants to organisations whose objectives coincide with our own and those who might provide better life chances for patients.

The part that our team plays in the patient’s ‘chain of survival’ can be significantly assisted by enhancing the care they are given in the period before we arrive. For instance, it is generally recognised that effective aid, such as CPR, in the first 10 minutes can significantly increase the life chances of patients.

In 2019, the charity approved a grant to the South Western Ambulance Service Charity, which is responsible for training and equipping volunteer community first responder (CFR) groups across the south west. The grant specified that it should be used only to support CFRs in the Dorset and Somerset area and funded a defined range and quality of equipment, such as Raizer lifting chairs (a mechanical piece of equipment that fits together around a patient who is unable to get up and gradually lifts them into a sitting position), enhanced observation equipment (such as tympanic ear thermometers and blood glucose testing kits) and defibrillators.

The grant has already helped to upgrade a number of CFR teams across Dorset and Somerset, enabling them to deal with more calls and if required, provide effective life-saving support such as CPR until a clinician arrives. Furthermore, it has enabled additional CFR teams to be created, which will have a significant impact on patient outcomes. This was the first such initiative of its kind in the south west.

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