Tamar Valley first responders to benefit from Tesco scheme

A Cornish community will have even better emergency care after South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT)’s charity won significant funding for a volunteer responder team.

The South Western Ambulance Charity was awarded £3,582 from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, which will enable the Tamar Valley Community First Responders (CFRs) to enhance the level of patient care they deliver in the local area.

The funding has provided a lifting device for responders to use on patients who have had non-injury falls, but are unable to get up.

It has also been used to purchase other medical equipment, including blood pressure monitor and thermometer for the group.

Julia Cleeland-Smith, SWASFT County Responder Officer for Cornwall said: “We are delighted to have received this funding thanks to Tesco and the community of Callington.

The new equipment we have now purchased will enable us to further support the local community in a robust and safe way. It is a great investment for the local area.

Our volunteers give their time freely to help support SWASFT and our patients; and this funding will help them to provide more enhanced care for those in need. Thank you to everyone who voted for us.”

The funding comes as SWASFT recruits new CFRs in Looe, Callington, Bude, Camelford, Porthleven and Helston. For more information and to apply by 14 October, please visit the NHS jobs website.

The Bags of Help scheme sees grants of up to £5,000 – raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to local community projects every month. Customers vote for a local project using a token given to them at a store check-out.

CFR Steve Hobbs, Callington Tesco store manager, SWASFT Assistant Community Responder Officer Steve Matthews and CFR Mike Kemp. They are pictured with a Raizer lifting chair.

The lifting equipment enables responders to move non-injury falls patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position. It helps reduce extended waits and complications associated with long lies on the floor.

This scheme ensures the most appropriate resource is allocated to an incident, enabling ambulances to be sent to patients who have the highest clinical need.

SWASFT was given the Best Care of Older People accolade at the Health Service Journal’s 2018 Patient Safety Awards for the initiative.

CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents on behalf of SWASFT within their local communities. They respond to particular types of 999 calls where it is essential for the patient to receive immediate lifesaving care. These include conditions such as cardiac arrest, chest pain, breathing difficulties, unconscious patients, fitting and stroke.

There are around 800 CFRs providing lifesaving support to patients across the region.

SWASFT covers one of the most rural areas of the UK, and is committed to providing the population of the South West with the highest standard of out-of-hospital care.

The charity uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the SWASFT. To donate, click on this link: http://www.swambulancecharity.org/donate

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