Volunteer ambulance first responder cover for children reinstated

Volunteer Ambulance First Responders - staged publicity photos with permission. Pictures: supplied N

Volunteer Ambulance First Responders - staged publicity photos with permission. Pictures: supplied Norman Lamb's office - Credit: Archant

Volunteer first responders in the region will once again be able to see children aged under eight following a thorough review.

Norman Lamb. Picture: Liberal Democrats.

Norman Lamb. Picture: Liberal Democrats. - Credit: Liberal Democrats

Community First Responders (CFR) have not been able to cover those children after a new national framework was supported by the National Ambulance Service Medical Directors in October 2017.

While it was due to be reviewed in April 2018, widespread concerns were raised.

It led to Tim Thirst, Chairman of the Association of Ambulance First Responders in England and co-ordinator of a First Responder group in North Norfolk, working with North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb at a national level.

Meanwhile, East of England Ambulance Services Trust (EEAST) undertook a thorough review, working with CFRs and other local representatives.

On July 18, subject to final governance arrangements at EEAST, CFRs would once again be able to aid children under eight as well as older children and adults in medical emergencies.

Mr Lamb said: 'This is brilliant news. Volunteer Ambulance First Responders work really hard to ensure people in their local communities receive essential medical attention as soon as possible.

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'Ending cover for children under eight was a potentially fatal policy. The sooner volunteers are once again able to respond to those cases, the better.'

Mr Thirst said: 'These volunteers were being prevented from attending children in their own community. Children who were at the same school as theirs. Children who were next-door neighbours. Children who they had been trained to help in a life-threatening situation.

'It was implied that this decision would affect first responders throughout the country, which was very worrying for them as well.'

EEAST Medical Director Dr Tom Davis said: 'When we first met CFRs in May, it was obvious we would come to a positive solution because they are a group of people passionate about their communities.

'Working alongside CFRs, we reviewed the patient safety impact of volunteers attending younger patients very carefully. 'Last month we met again to agree a way forward from July 18. Our volunteers add huge value to their local communities and our most vulnerable patients, often requiring immediate life support.'