UTTOXETER'S MP has welcomed extended training for first responders following a review to help them continue as the first port of call serving those in need.
Andrew Griffiths hailed the extend and develop basic, intermediate and enhanced training courses for community first responders across Staffordshire as "an important and vital move."
The first responders are trained in the First Person on Scene course, which is run by the ambulance service.
The course has three levels of qualification based upon basic, intermediate and enhanced with a focus to be able to offer treatment in critical situations within communities while the ambulance is en route.
Mr Griffiths said: "It is so important that the ambulance service utilises the vast knowledge and experience of first responders in rural areas such as Ellastone, Mayfield and Denstone.
"These people are dedicated volunteers, making sure that help reaches those who call 999 as quickly as possible.
"I have been making the case to the West Midlands Ambulance Service for some time for our Community First Responders to have their training extended and improved.
"So I am pleased the chief executive, Dr Anthony Marsh, has decided to extend and develop all levels of training."
The Mayfield and Ellastone Community First Responders are the former holders of the Community First Responder of the year for Staffordshire.
The organisation now forms part of the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
The training has now been available for a few years but was put on hold while a review into the service took place.
Bosses of the body had to ensure the responders were being taught skills they used in a practical sense at scenes of injuries.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: "The trust has had Community First Responders trained in the Enhanced First Person on Scene qualification for a number of years.
"Enhanced level CFRs operate very successfully in extremely rural areas to support the needs of our patients while an ambulance is en route to give aid.
"Earlier this year the trust reviewed this training package to ensure that the skills being taught are used frequently enough so that the level of care being delivered remains first-class.
"It also evaluated whether or not the right level of response was made available in the appropriate geographical areas."
Community first responders are volunteers trained to reach those people suffering from medical emergencies in the remote rural communities fast.
For many illnesses or injuries, the first few minutes are critical and simple interventions can be performed in order to save lives or prevent long-term disabilities associated with injuries.
Basic life support and defibrillation are key components of the First Person on Scene course and the enhanced course focuses on more advanced skills.
This includes training in the use of additional medical drugs.
For example, a patient suffering anaphylaxis may need to be treated with adrenaline.
To qualify for consideration for the enhanced course, responders have 18 months' experience at FPOS Intermediate level prior to proceeding to the next level of medical assessment.
They also need to have accrued more than 100 hours of contact training time.
Applicants also need to undertake an interview and produce of a portfolio.
More information on the First Person on the Scene course is available online at www.edexcel.com/quals/ihcd/FPOS/Pages/default.aspx
It can also be accessed via the West Midlands Ambulance Service website at www.wmas.nhs.uk