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Lancaster medical students form county’s first student Community First Responder team

Twelve medical students from Lancaster University have formed Lancashire’s first student Community First Responder (CFR) scheme after training with the North West Ambulance Service.

The undergraduates are all studying to become doctors at Lancaster Medical School where the volunteer team was set up by students Monty Barker-Pilsworth and Joe Nicholson, who are now Team Leader and Deputy Leader.

The North West Ambulance Service provided free training for the students in emergency life support which included how to deal with patients suffering from life-threatening conditions such as cardiac arrest, chest pains, difficulty breathing, allergic reactions, diabetic and epileptic collapse and choking.

Monty wanted to create a group in which medical students could give back to the local community.

He said: “I have witnessed first-hand how crucial CFRs are and the positive impact we could bring in this role. As CFRs for the North West Ambulance Service, we are incredibly excited to provide a service to our local community.

“We all feel a great sense of pride to be able to take on the role of a CFR. There was no shortage of fellow medical students who were enthusiastic to be involved with the scheme. This scheme gives us the opportunity to utilise attributes such as strong communication, diligence, and decisiveness to improve patient care.”

The team is hoping to expand and begin its second wave of recruitment soon among other medical students.

North West Ambulance Service’s Community Resuscitation Manager Mark Evans said: “None of us know who will suffer a cardiac arrest, have difficulty with breathing or sustain heavy bleeding. What we do know is that when such a life-threatening condition occurs, it is the simple things that save lives including the type of assistance available and the speed of response.

“We are so pleased for the communities of Lancaster University that a new team of responders has been set up. These students are the NHS staff of the future and whilst studying is their main priority, they will collectively use some of their spare time to respond to emergency calls.”

In many areas across the North West, the ambulance service uses local volunteers to get to patients quickly and provide life-saving help prior to the arrival of an ambulance. CFRs are dispatched to specific emergency calls by the ambulance service’s emergency control centre.

The North West Ambulance Service has one of the largest and longest-established CFR schemes in the country. There are over 700 active CFRs shared between approximately 125 teams throughout the region.

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