Pat on the back for Long Sutton’s First Responders

LONG Sutton’s volunteer LIVES First Responders are helping ambulances meet target response times – even though Lincolnshire has the worst record in the country.

In a pilot plan to improve response times, East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) says highly-trained paramedics could be sent to treat patients on the spot. It is hoped this will free up county ambulances and cut pressure on A&E departments.

But vice-chairman of Lincolnshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee Coun Chris Brewis said statistics would be a lot worse were it not for the county’s voluntary LIVES First Responders.

Coun Brewis, who is also parish councillor for Sutton Bridge, said: “Long Sutton sends out more First Responders than anywhere in the county.

“I just don’t feel they get credit for the work they do. If it wasn’t for them, figures would be a lot worse. A response from a First Responder in seven minutes and 59 seconds is a tick for EMAS.”

The ambulance service was slammed by Lincolnshire county councillor and Police Authority member Chris Underwood-Frost in January after it emerged police attending emergencies were ferrying injured people to hospitals because ambulances had not turned up in time.

In the period April to December 2011, only 71.73 per cent life-threatening calls were responded to within the eight-minute target. The national target is 75 per cent. For less serious incidents, which require a 19-minute response, EMAS has an 82.74 success rate in Lincolnshire.

If the £100,000 pilot study, which is being trialled until the end of March and is being paid for by NHS Lincolnshire at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, is successful, it could be rolled out across the county.

EMAS spokesman Phil Morris said: “We are hopeful that this new approach will allow us to get the right care to patients as soon as possible and reduce the number of admissions to A&E.”

Coun Mrs Christine Talbot, chairman of Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, said: “The people of Lincolnshire deserve health services of a high standard and we will continue to monitor and track progress.”