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Fire service partnership launched to alleviate pressure on ambulance crews


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Important partnership created to assist with falls and free up ambulance crews in Peterborough

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust have launched a new initiative aimed at providing immediate assistance to individuals who have experienced a fall.

This innovative service, designed to address the up to 20 percent of callouts attributed to falls, seeks to alleviate the pressure on ambulance services, ensuring that emergency crews are available for more serious callouts.

Falls represent a substantial portion of the ambulance service’s workload, with many cases requiring no hospital treatment beyond help to stand and a safety check.

The new partnership, a 12-month pilot programme, introduces four Community Wellbeing Officers tasked with responding to such incidents across Cambridgeshire.

Training and objectives of the Community Wellbeing Officers

The officers underwent a comprehensive three-week emergency responder training programme with the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to equip them with the necessary skills for their roles.

The primary goal of this partnership is to ensure that ambulance crews can concentrate on attending to the most critically ill patients, while the wellbeing officers focus on aiding those who have fallen, aiming to reach them within an hour of the call.

Operational details of the new scheme

The process begins with the EEAST control room’s clinical assessment of calls received via the 999 or 111 services.

Calls involving individuals who have fallen but are uninjured will be directed to the Community Wellbeing Officers.

These officers, operating in pairs, will then assist the fallen individual and conduct a home safety check to mitigate the risk of future incidents.

Scott Fretwell, Station Commander and Community Risk Manager at Cambridgeshire Fire Service, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration: “We are excited to be working in partnership with East of England Ambulance Service Trust to introduce community wellbeing officers.

“The collaboration will help to save lives, enhance patient experience and subsequently improve community welfare.

“When they are not responding to calls, the community wellbeing officers will be visiting homes of the most vulnerable people in our communities to help them stay safe from fire and other risks such as slips and falls.

We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact of this new partnership over the coming months.”

Tom Barker, EEAST Community Response Manager, also highlighted the benefits of the initiative: “We’re delighted to be part of this collaboration with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service which aims to improve the speed of response and increase support for people who have fallen in their homes.

“The people we’ll be responding to are the vulnerable members of our communities who will not only benefit from a quicker response to help them back on their feet, but also the person-centred home safety check that will be carried out at the same time.

“I am confident that this programme will see real benefits, for not only for the ambulance service, but more importantly to our vulnerable members of our community who we want to make sure are safe in their homes.”

IFSJ Comment

The initiative between Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust marks a proactive step towards enhancing community welfare in Cambridgeshire.

By focusing on immediate assistance for non-critical fall victims, the partnership not only aims to improve the efficiency of emergency response services but also to ensure the safety and well-being of the community’s most vulnerable members.

The introduction of Community Wellbeing Officers is a commendable approach to addressing the specific needs of individuals who have fallen, combining timely assistance with preventive home safety measures.

This pilot scheme exemplifies the value of inter-agency collaboration in delivering comprehensive care and support within the community.

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