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Volunteers beating ambulance staff

PUBLISHED: 10:40 27 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:54 03 March 2010

VOLUNTEER ambulance responders are beating the professionals -by getting to 100 per cent of their emergencies within eight minutes.

The team from East Bergholt has today won praise from East Anglian Ambulance Trust bosses after they got to all six of their 999 calls within the national response time target.

VOLUNTEER ambulance responders are beating the professionals –by getting to 100 per cent of their emergencies within eight minutes.

The team from East Bergholt has today won praise from East Anglian Ambulance Trust bosses after they got to all six of their 999 calls within the national response time target.

The trust is currently getting to about 60pc of life-threatening calls across Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire in eight minutes, and all ambulance services must get to 75pc in eight minutes by April 1.

The East Bergholt Heartwatch volunteers even responded within eight minutes to an emergency in the neighbouring village of Brantham.

The scheme, under which ambulance controllers at Norwich send a trained responder from their home to give basic life support to an emergency patient until paramedics arrive, was started by Sheila Lewry.

As featured in the Evening Star, Mrs Lewry set up the scheme in October, after her husband Gordon died from a heart attack, and paramedics could not get to the scene quickly enough to save his life.

Volunteers in the village are now trained by the ambulance service and carry a defibrillator to treat heart attacks, and other first aid equipment.

The aim of the scheme is to get medical help to the patient until the nearest ambulance can get there.

"All the patients have been really happy to see us, because we have arrived so quickly," said Mrs Lewry.

"Our second call was to a party where somebody had collapsed. Everybody at the party was pleased to see us. We're now getting ready to fundraise so we can take it a step further and provide some sort of aftercare service."

Paul Sutton, director of operations at the EAAT, said: "We are extremely grateful for the help that Sheila and her team are providing to the patients and our crews.

"Some of the calls have been received in the early hours of the morning and late at night, and yet the volunteers have still been able to get to the patient within a few minutes, which is marvellous.

"We still always send the nearest ambulance and will arrive on scene as quickly as we can, but it must be a comfort to those living in East Bergholt to know that Sheila and her team can be quickly on hand with medical help."

Weblink: www.eastanglianambulance.com

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