Community First Responders do an amazing job within both rural and urban areas. All CFRs are highly trained to respond to emergency situations, such as cardiac arrests, and some also play a vital role in falls response.
One such Community First Responder, David Lloyd, has recently attended his 1,000th call-out (!). A massive congratulations from all of us here at Felgains to David. In this blog, we’re delighted to be able to share his story, courtesy of South Western Ambulance Service…
This is David Lloyd’s story
“In 2006 I was looking for something more than just another First Aid course, where I could attend and treat patients and discovered the Community Responder Scheme (CFR) with Avon Ambulance Service.
Initially I found responding a little scary and challenging but persevered. I was able to give lots of commitment to the scheme and quickly got into my stride. If you’d told me back then I would attend over 1000 incidents I simply would not have believed you.
In 2007 I applied for and received a grant from Winterbourne Parish Council to fund my own kit through Great Western Ambulance Service. Winterbourne Parish Council has been incredibly supportive and appreciative of my responding ever since, funding additional kit through South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT).
I took every opportunity to further my knowledge and capability by taking part in as many training sessions and CPD days as I can. When we were offered the chance to train with the RAF at RAF Lyneham I embraced this opportunity. Clinical colleagues have been tremendously supportive too, always taking time to answer questions, checking on my welfare and offering additional advice and observation shifts. I might be a lone responder, but I truly feel part of the wider SWASFT team.
It is sometimes said that CFRs do not receive enough recognition and praise for our work. However, that is not my experience. Over the years I’ve been incredibly proud to receive several awards and thank you letters of appreciation including: a Chief Officer’s Commendation, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a 10-Year Service Award and the Winterbourne Responder Group Award. These have all been for my work as a CFR.
But what matters most to me is the feedback from patients and their relatives. Without exception they has always been very appreciative and hugely grateful for what I do as a CFR. Some have taken the trouble to write to SWAST or push cards through the door. One said: “To the world you may be just one person; but to one person you may be the world.” Very humbling and the whole reason I continue to be a CFR. You get ten times more out of responding than you put into it. Not a bad return.
There have been many difficult and challenging circumstances, but that is the nature of the role. Some jobs have affected me, and SWAST has always been there to support me post-incident. One of my neighbours having a cardiac arrest on Christmas Day was particularly upsetting. All you can do is your best for the patient and support their relatives.
Over the years I have seen many changes in the ambulance service. Initially the focus was on cardiac arrests, and other immediately life threatening calls in our local communities. However, now SWASFT has enhanced our training so we can attend a wider scope of calls. There is also a nationally recognised qualification for CFRs. All this adds up to an even more rewarding experience for patients and CFRs alike.”