A SMALL parish could lead the way for emergency responses across the country.

Speaking at Cumbria County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee on Monday, Gene Quinn and Ronda Stamper, of North West Ambulance Service, gave a presentation on their efforts “to provide a safe and effective operating model for Alston Moor residents”.

Like other small and remote areas, Alston Moor operates a Community First Responders (CFR) model in which volunteers are trained in basic first-aid.

Mr Quinn said: “We’ve have a number of challenges over the recent 18 months to two years in terms of the number of people available to us covering the ambulance provision up on the Moor."

The ambulance currently available to Alston Moor does not convey any patients.

“The past 18 months has been a risk assessment around the Covid-19 pandemic and some of the people who were operating on the particular ambulance were classed as clinically vulnerable and weren’t able to cover the vehicle.

“That, along with a number of other elements, has led to some gaps in the provision.”

In response to the issue, North West Ambulance aims to make Alston Moor the pilot for the Enhanced Community First Responders course.

ECFRs will have additional equipment and are trained by the ambulance service’s clinical staff.

The plan is for findings to be presented locally and nationally as an example of ECFR best practice, positioning Alston as a model of quality.

A working group was set up involving parish councillors from Alston, the EMTs, CFRs and North Cumbria CCG. The group is looking at how more could be done to “enhance the clinical skill set on the Moor.”

The clinical group is looking at additional drugs and additional scope of practice for the CFRs.

NWAS has also put together a communication strategy to directly engage with the Alston Moor community. It also aims to resurrect support for the CFR programme and develop a model which is safe and effective until an ambulance arrives.