Student Responder Scheme launches with its own vehicle

(From L to R) Dr Tim Lancaster, Professor Alastair Buchan, Sameer Ganatra, William Seligman, David England, Dr John Black and Dr Syed Masud.

(From L to R) Dr Tim Lancaster, Professor Alastair Buchan, Sameer Ganatra, William Seligman, David England, Dr John Black and Dr Syed Masud.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) Community Liaison and Training Officers David England and Ian Jones, working together with Oxford University Medical School, have launched the first Student First Responder Scheme in England to have its own response vehicle.

Over the past few weeks SCAS has recruited 48 volunteers from fourth and fifth year medical students at Oxford University to provide early and often vital intervention for patients suffering life-threatening medical emergencies while an ambulance response is en route to the scene.

To date 34 medical students have been trained by SCAS to respond to incidents across the three counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Seventeen of the volunteers have passed a driving assessment, which qualifies them to use one of the ambulance trust’s dynamic response Vauxhall Corsa cars.

Members of the Student First Responder Scheme will be carrying the same equipment as a Community First Responder (CFR) plus Entonox and will follow the same protocols as a CFR.
 They will work as a crew of two proceeding to 999 calls as directed by SCAS’ Emergency Operations Centre at normal road speed. The students will be doing shifts in their free time and will cover towns and villages across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

David England SCAS Community Liaison & Training Officer said, “When I came up with the idea of using medical students for responding I didn’t think we would get 34 signed up and trained so quickly. The students spend their time on placements in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and others across the region, but this hands-on pre-hospital experience will be an eye opener for them. Not only will it inspire some to specialise in pre-hospital care in the future but it will also make today’s medical students and tomorrow’s junior doctors better prepared to deal with life-threatening emergencies in-hospital.”

SCAS Medical Director Dr John Black said, “The Student First Responder Scheme represents an exciting training opportunity for Oxford University Medical students and is an excellent example of partnership working between the NHS and higher education that will benefit the next generation of doctors and the patients they see and treat.”

Dr Syed Masud, Consultant in A&E and Pre-Hospital Care at the John Radcliffe Hospital, said, “The Student First Responder Scheme is part of the bigger picture in pre-hospital care and emergency medicine. The students have started up a Society for Pre- Hospital Emergency Medicine and Major Trauma and in partnership with the emergency services will be holding their inaugural national conference in November 2013. The John Radcliffe Hospital is fully supporting both initiatives.”

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