Ambulance role proposed for firefighters

East Midlands Ambulance Service

East Midlands Ambulance Service

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Firefighters could soon be transporting ill or injured people to hospital if funding is granted for a pilot scheme in Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas), have put forward a joint bid for £490,000 of funding from the Government’s Transformation Challenge Award for the innovative scheme.

It is hoped the project could reduce the time it takes for patients to be taken to hospital.

It would involve some firefighters acting as co-responders and being sent to medical incidents in an ambulance-type vehicle, which they could use to take the patient to hospital.

At the same time, an Emas paramedic would respond to the incident in a fast response car and if the patient needs to go to hospital, the paramedic would travel with them in the fire service vehicle to provide treatment en route.

It has not yet been announced where the pilot scheme would take place but could be carried out over the next 12 months if the bid for funding is successful.

A review would then assess whether or not the scheme should be expanded.

Lincolnshire County Councillor Helen Powell (Linc Ind) representing Bourne Castle ward said: “The days when firefighters can sit when there are no fires are long gone.

“These services have such an immense amount of expertise that can be used by Emas to help provide a better service for the people of Lincolnshire.

“They have got to look at it more laterally. They are doing the best with what they have but they need to get some more creative minds looking for solutions. This is a good start.

“The people of Lincolnshire deserve the best service possible.”

Coun Powell said she believes police, fire and ambulance services should all consider being based in one location and share all their resources.

Bourne Town Councillor and ambulance service campaigner Brenda Johnson: “I think it would be a fantastic thing to see public resources used to provide a better ambulance service.

“Anything that improves response times for our growing elderly population, or anyone who needs an ambulance, is a good thing.

“I think these services working together is a great idea.”

The scheme was discussed by the Health Scrutiny Committee of Lincolnshire County Council on Wednesday last week.

In a joint statement, Coun Sue Woolley, executive councillor for NHS Liaison, and Coun Peter Robinson, executive councillor for Community Safety, said: “We do hope this bid is successful.

“It would be a great example of partners working together to enhance our current ambulance provision and to improve outcomes for the people of Lincolnshire.”

Some firefighters at stations in Bourne, Billingborough, Corby Glen, Market Deeping and Stamford are already trained to deal with non-invasive medical cases, including using defibrillators.