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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Let First Responders volunteers give kids treatment, says Cumbrian MP

An MP is calling on the health secretary to step in to allow emergency volunteers to treat children.

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Rory Stewart: ‘Amazing group of people’

Rory Stewart said he is “troubled” by rules that prevent Community First Responders from helping youngsters who fall ill in an emergency.

The Penrith and the Border MP has written to Andrew Lansley following meetings with First Responder groups in his constituency.

He is urging the Secretary of State to review existing legislation and protocols to try to find a compromise which would allow these volunteers to respond in situations where a young life is at stake.

First Responders (FRs) are trained volunteers who are called out when a 999 call is made in their village or community.

They can provide life-saving first aid while waiting for an ambulance to arrive and are seen as vital to many rural areas of the county. But Mr Stewart said at present they can only go to the assistance of adults.

“First Responders are currently prevented from treating children due to existing legislation,” said Mr Stewart.

“Generally it is felt to be more challenging to treat children,” he explained.

“First Responders are not trained to do so, nor are they CRB-checked, and they do not have the necessary equipment.

“At the moment FRs receive call-outs from the ambulance service, but would not be called to an incident involving a child unless by mistake.

“However, they feel very strongly indeed that they should be able to be called upon in a life-saving situation,” added the MP.

“I would argue strongly for a compromise situation, whereby if possible the ambulance service would provide more training and equipment and would find a way of collaborating with FRs.”

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