NHS Charities Together has allocated £7m from its COVID appeal to bolster an army of community first responder and other volunteers, who will work with ambulance crews across the UK to help ease the pressure on the service at one of the most challenging times in its history.
Seven million pounds has been allocated by population across all the ambulance services in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, including funding for sixty thousand additional volunteers and other community-focused projects.
Community First Responders are trained volunteers who are dispatched to emergency incidents when every second count – for example, if someone isn’t breathing, has chest pains, is unconscious or fitting – to administer basic life support until an ambulance service arrives.
Ambulance services across the UK have been dealing with the additional challenges of the Covid crisis. Thanks to the public’s support, NHS Charities Together is providing extra support for trained volunteers who will help reduce hospital admissions by giving the right care in the right place, ultimately helping to save lives.
A variety of projects will be funded across the UK, including:
- Recruiting additional 60,000 volunteers.
- Community access to defibrillators to help improve survival rates. Evidence shows that patients who are defibrillated by an out of hospital defibrillator alongside CPR could have a 50% increase in survival rate.
- Dedicated first responder groups cars to enable a swifter response to emergencies.
- Vital equipment such as tympanic thermometers, automatic blood pressure monitors and pulse oximeters to measure oxygen levels in the blood.
- Training the community to respond to out of hospital cardiac arrest, including CPR training for schools and community groups, with community engagement officers in hard-to-reach areas.
- Further training and other practical support for existing community first responders.
Ellie Orton, Chief Executive for NHS Charities Together, said:
“At this time of immense challenge for the NHS, we are delighted that we can make a real difference and ultimately help save lives by funding wonderful community first responder volunteers within the ambulance service.
“It’s thanks to the overwhelming support of the British public at this difficult time that we are able to fund these vital projects – the NHS has been doing an amazing job, but as an independent charity, we can provide additional support to help the NHS do more than it otherwise could. A heartfelt thank you to all of our supporters for helping us to keep on caring for the NHS, which will continue to need us now and in future as it recovers from the most challenging time in its history.”
Leeds-based Nick Huby, a BT Maintenance Engineer who has been a Community First Responder (CFR) for Yorkshire Ambulance Service for four years, said:
“When the team and I are responding to an emergency, every second count. Having cars and additional equipment will make all the difference to us being able to get to a patient quickly and get the best results for them – ultimately helping save lives and take pressure off the wider system.”
Funding has been made available to NHS charities based on 13 ambulance trusts covering the entire UK. Five projects are ready to begin, based on the London Ambulance Service, West Midlands Ambulance Service, South Central Ambulance Service, South Western Ambulance Service and Yorkshire Ambulance Service.
NHS Charities Together is an independent national charity caring for the NHS. It helps provide additional support to patients, NHS staff and volunteers, working through its 241 member charities based with hospitals, ambulance trusts, community health trusts, mental health trusts and health boards across the UK.
In total, NHS Charities Together’s COVID-19 Appeal raised £150 million thanks to the support from Captain Sir Tom and others. Over £118 million has already been made available to our 241 member charities to help patients, staff, and volunteers on the ground.
For more information about NHS Charities Together, please visit www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk.
charitytoday.co.uk | 25 March 2021