DISILLUSIONMENT with a local volunteer life-saving service threatens its effectiveness.
HOLDERNESS COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS are the local life-saving volunteers who provide immediate life-saving care for people facing an emergency medical situation, such as heart attack, breathing difficulties or a collapse, in the vital minutes before the emergency services arrive.
The First Responders work with and are trained by Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS). Volunteers receive training from YAS up to a national standard that can give them the necessary skills to carry out potential life-saving work.
Until recently volunteers would have attended monthly training sessions and be tested on their skills every 6 months. Now, YAS have reduced their training support to bi-monthly and some Holderness volunteers have responded by resigning from the organisation.
A local Hedon resident, Dean Robson, is not surprised by the recent unrest amongst the volunteers. He resigned two months ago as a First Responder after two-and-half-years because of his disillusionment with the training regime and the scheme generally.
Dean says: “We have had 4 different trainers over the last two years and the training has been inconsistent. I had to arrange time-off from work to attend training due to the nature of my job, and recently after arranging time off the session was cancelled. The venue for the training changed as well. We used to meet in a church hall but this was changed to a pub, which I think is inappropriate.”
Dean also thinks that the scheme as currently set up in Hedon is perhaps not as effective as it could be: “In two and a half years I never got to use my skills in a real situation. Every time I attended an incident then an ambulance or another first responder vehicle was already there. Or I would set off with my equipment only to get the message to ‘stand down’. I think Hedon is quite well served by the emergency services so perhaps our scheme is a waste of time and resources?”
“The scheme is still important in the villages, but perhaps in Hedon it would be better if some of the local shop-keepers in the town centre received the training. They are in a better location where life saving skills could be much more effective with a quicker response to incidents being possible”
The Community First Responders scheme is undoubtedly a fantastic idea. Its greatest resource is its volunteers who are guided by noble aims. Yorkshire Ambulance Service needs to do everything possible to support, value and retain its volunteers. Supporting volunteering is not a cheap option – but it is far cheaper than losing a life due to the absence of a trained life-saver!