Eastbourne First Responders reacts to claims ‘lives are being put at risk’

A Eastbourne Community First Responders vehicle on the South Downs
A Eastbourne Community First Responders vehicle on the South Downs

Eastbourne First Responders has reacted to claims a number of volunteer emergency medics have been ‘deactivated’ across Sussex.

The Herald yesterday reported a warning from Community First Responders, who work alongside the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), saying lives could be put at risk because of an error by the ambulance service.

Read the full story here: ’Lives at risk’ in Sussex after medics pulled off duty

The volunteer responders – ‘CFRs’ – are often the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency. But many say they have been laid off because of what they maintain is a “clerical error” by SECamb.

However, responding to this, a spokesperson from Eastbourne Community First Responders says the team is “supportive” of the approach taken by SECAmb to “maintain high standards of training and compliance”.

The spokesperson said, “Eastbourne Community First Responders is a volunteer responder group that works closely with SECAmb to provide a first response to emergencies within the local area.

“The scheme covers the areas of Eastbourne, East Dean and Friston, Dicker, Hailsham, Herstmonceux, Hankham, Stone Cross, Pevensey Bay, Polegate, Westham and surrounding areas.

“The team has worked with SECAmb to ensure all of its CFRs are fully compliant with training requirements and continue to be operational.

“The Eastbourne CFR team meets twice per month for regular training and assessment. The Eastbourne Community First Responders will continue to serve their community with pride and the team is supportive of the approach taken by SECAmb to maintain high standards of training and compliance.”

A spokesman for SECamb said they were committed to working closely with Community First Responders and they had attended more than 11,000 incidents in the region in the past 12 months.

They said, “Patient safety is at the forefront of everything we do. It is essential that we ensure every CFR who is deployed to a 999 call is fully compliant with all training requirements. This means that every 12 months, CFRs are required to complete assessments in adult and paediatric basic life support, as well as mandatory e-learning.

“CFRs have been made aware of these requirements and the importance of completing regular training and assessment. CFRs who did not complete an annual assessment by the deadline of March 31, 2019 have been temporarily withdrawn from duty to enable them to complete their mandatory assessments. This includes CFRs who have not been active responding for the Trust for some time.

“As soon as evidence of completion of the required elements is received they will be able to resume attending incidents within their communities.”