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New Lifting Aid To Benefit Swindon Patients

09 March 2020

More patients in Swindon will benefit from a volunteer-led South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) initiative after it received new funds.

Swindon’s Community Responder group raised almost £3,500 through South Western Ambulance Charity to purchase a new lifting chair and associated equipment for patients who have experienced a non-injury fall.

The scheme involves trained volunteers called Community First Responders (CFRs) attending these patients after a 999 call has been made.

In each incident, the CFR assesses the patient with support from a clinician in the Control Hub. They use the lifting chair to move patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position, and the clinician decides if an ambulance is required.

The initiative reduces patient wait times and can avoid them needing to go hospital. It also frees-up frontline crews to be available for life-threatening incidents.

Neil Hunt, who led the fundraising for the group, said: “We are delighted to have received this funding to help us to better support patients at home in their local community.

“This fantastic piece of kit enables us to attend a non-injury fall patient, to reduce their suffering and get them back on their feet in a safe and more timely manner.

“The scheme also helps to ensure the most appropriate allocation of emergency services resources.”

The scheme was launched by SWASFT in 2017 to improve response times for these patients and to develop the skills and experience of CFRs.

SWASFT was given the Best Care of Older People accolade at the Health Service Journal’s 2018 Patient Safety Awards for the initiative.

Additional info:

  • Around a third of people aged 65+ and about half of people aged 80+ fall at least once a year. Falls can cause pain and distress, and may lead to serious health problems. They often result in people losing their confidence and independence.
  • During an eight-week trial involving 17 groups across the South West waiting times for non-injury falls patients were cut by 12.5%. Of the incidents attended by a CFR 77% did not need support from a paramedic, saving 148 hours of frontline resource time.
  • CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents and deliver care in their local communities, on behalf of SWASFT, while an ambulance is on its way.
  • SWASFT has around 800 CFRs across the South West who attend more than 40,000 incidents each year - helping to save lives, reduce pain and provide reassurance to those requiring emergency care.
  • The funding for the new equipment came from the following sources: Tesco Bags of Help £2,000, Swindon North Parish Council £400, Haydon Wick Parish Council £400, Fireworks fundraiser £285.83, Stratton St Margaret Parish Council £400. The total raised was £3,485.83.

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South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: