Bedfordshire emergency service co-response scheme launched

Date: 30 June 2016

Co-responding with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

The life-saving partnership between ambulance staff and firefighters that involves fire services responding to cardiac arrest patients has branched out to Bedfordshire.

The new co-responding scheme is being piloted between the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS). It sees firefighters in Leighton Buzzard and Biggleswade deployed in response cars, in addition to ambulance clinicians and community first responders to calls where a patient is not breathing and their heart has stopped beating.

Rob Ashford, Acting Director of Service Delivery for EEAST, said: "We already work closely with 999 colleagues and this is an extension of our partnership to help patients with an immediately life-threatening condition.

"Building on the collaborative work already undertaken through community first response (CFR), public access defibrillation and RAF co-response schemes, we also believe co-response schemes can add significantly to our ability to respond to patients quickly and start basic life support. We know that the quicker someone starts cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and gets a defibrillator to a patient in cardiac arrest the better chance they have of surviving.

He added: "The ambulance service will continue to send clinicians to such patients as a top priority, but the best thing for the patient is to get someone trained in basic life support to their side as quickly as possible.”

Ian Evans, Head of Operations at BFRS said: “Firefighters have volunteered to take part in this pilot, which is an evolution of the work we do every day. We are not turning firefighters into paramedics - we are making the most of their existing lifesaving skills and our ability to mobilise to incidents quickly in support of EEAST. We are not replacing paramedic services and will not be transporting casualties.”

  • Summary:

    The life-saving partnership between ambulance staff and firefighters that involves fire services responding to cardiac arrest patients has branched out to Bedfordshire.