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CFR team launched in SW Kent

Press release - 15 July 2010

A new life-saving Community First Responder team covering Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge has been launched.

The team, which is hoping to expand to cover Paddock Wood, is made up of volunteers specially trained by South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Trust (SECAmb) to deliver life-saving skills in the local community in the minutes before an ambulance arrives.

The new team includes first-aiders, nurses and off-duty members of SECAmb staff.

Paramedic Clinical Advisor and off-duty SECAmb staff responder for the team Gary Knight said: “Community first responders have been operating across the South East since 2000. The schemes were first introduced in an effort to provide early pre-hospital care in local communities within those life critical early minutes following cardiac arrest, a heart attack, or to patients who are unconscious or suffering any other form of life-threatening illness or injury.

“Community responders are not a substitute for the ambulance crews, but because they are based within the community in which they live or work, they are able to attend the scene of an emergency in a very short time often within the first few minutes and in the majority of incidents they would be first on scene. The responder can then begin vital life-saving first aid before the arrival of an ambulance, further increasing the patient’s chance of survival.”

Responder Team Leader Christine Bathurst who lives in Pembury said: “Each member of the team has a pager and mobile phone which alerts us to calls when we book on with the Emergency Dispatch Centre. We use our own car to get to the scene and then set about providing life-saving treatment, using our equipment and defibrillator until the ambulance arrives.”

“SECAmb provides two kit bags and defibrillators per scheme but with six trained Community First Responders and a further five people awaiting training in this area we’re really keen to hear from anyone who can help with fundraising to help supplement the two kits we already have.”

With it costing approximately £2,000 to equip one volunteer, the team would like to hear from anyone who can help with fundraising. Anyone who would like to support the team is asked to contact Christine on 07771 595016 or christine.bathurst@virgin.net.

In addition if anyone would like more information about becoming a community responder, or on schemes already operating in their local area should contact the SECAmb Community Responder Team office on 01273 897861 or email: recruitment@secamb.nhs.uk

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