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Farron demands Ambulance Service reconsider decision to put First Responders 'on ice'

November 17, 2006 4:06 PM

Health services in the more rural areas of South Lakeland have been dealt another blow as the Ambulance Service puts the First Responders scheme 'on ice'.

In a letter from the North West Ambulance Service to all First Responders (CFR) groups in Cumbria, the Ambulance Service has said that 'there will be no new CFR teams set up, and no extra recruitment for existing CFR groups'. In a second letter CFR groups were told that all training had been put on hold - meaning that all current CFR volunteers will lose their trained status within 6 months.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has expressed his outrage at the news in a phone call with Chief Executive, John Burnside, from the North West Ambulance Service. He's called on the Service to reconsider its decision to put the scheme 'on ice' and also to solve the on-going technical problems which are still causing some pagers to remain silent when there is an emergency.

Speaking after his phone call with John Burnside, Tim said: "The First Responders volunteers provide a vital community service in some our most remote rural areas. If you have a heart attack in Langdale or Dentdale, for example, it can take some time for an ambulance to reach you, but a First Responders volunteer can be with you in minutes.

"I understand that the new North West Ambulance Service is looking again at everything the service does in Cumbria. But while that review is being carried out, the answer is not to put the First Responders system on ice.

"I have pleaded with John Burnside from the Ambulance Service to reconsider this decision, and am demanding an urgent meeting with him to secure the future of this vital service."