One of the Charity’s long-term aims remain to be advocates for patients in the pre-hospital environment by greater co-operative working with all other agencies involved in patient care across the South West. The Charity has continued to explore many opportunities for providing support to first response, accident prevention and health promotion to help reduce the number of avoidable calls on our Critical Care Team.

As part of our strategic development, we have been continuing to explore ways in which we might provide better life chances to our patients. The part that our Critical Care Team plays in the patient’s ‘chain of survival’ can be significantly assisted by enhancing the care they are given in the period before they 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. 

Under the terms of our Memorandum of Association, we can offer support/grants to organisations whose objectives are coincident with our own. When selecting which organisation to support, we had to ensure that its governance met a very high standard. This ensures that we can be confident that our grant is spent in a way that fully supports our own mission.

Having considered at several options, the Charity decided to approve a grant to the South Western Ambulance Service Charity who are 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.

CFRs operate within the communities they live or work and provide lifesaving emergency aid ahead of an ambulance arrival. They are called upon at any time, day or night, helping to reach those patients most in need. Their contribution really does help to save lives, reduce pain and provide reassurance to those requiring emergency care.

By funding a defined range and quantity 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 CFR teams are now able to deal with more calls and, if required, provide effective life-saving support such as CPR until a clinician arrives.

The grant has already helped to upgrade a number of CFR teams across Dorset and Somerset. Furthermore, it has enabled three new CFR teams to be created. This will have a significant impact on patient outcomes and is the first such initiative of its kind in the South West.

Picture caption: Corscombe Community First Responder Group were delighted to receive their new equipment at a handover which took place in February.