MONEY intended for Ludlow Hospital that was refused by health chiefs will be used to fund emergency first responders in the town.

The decisions was made after the Shropshire Community NHS Trust refused to accept the money because of the way that it was collected which it was claimed sexualised and was demeaning to health workers.

League of Friends of Ludlow Hospital say that money raised by the 2017 Annual Bed Push had been used to fund the equipping of two Community First Responders for Ludlow.

Following the recent refusal, the Ludlow Hospital League were determined that local residents and visitors, who had so generously donated £2,500 in support of the league should see some long-term local benefit.

“For some time concerns have been raised about the length of time it takes for ambulances or paramedics to get to incidents in the town, particularly when events such as the Spring Fair or Food Festival attract so many visitors, or if the A49 is busy or closed – it is a large and sparsely populated area that often makes access in an emergency very difficult” said Peter Corfield, chairman of the league.

“We have supported the First Responder scheme in the past, about 10 years ago, and we were delighted to discover that two more local volunteers were about to enter training.

"Although training, uniforms and consumable items are provided free of charge by the ambulance service, the volunteers have to raise funds to buy their rucksack, defibrillator and essential equipment.”

Community First Responders are volunteers who are trained by West Midlands Ambulance Service to a nationally recognised level and provide lifesaving treatment to people in their local communities.

They are always backed up with the nearest available emergency vehicle and if on call may be asked to respond to a local 999 call if it is within seven minutes travelling time from their address.

Once on scene the Community First Responder will provide treatment as they have been trained to do until the nearest emergency vehicle arrives.

In many illnesses or injuries the first few minutes are critical and simple interventions can be performed in order to save lives or prevent disability.

The sooner a defibrillator is used the better chance the patient has of surviving, and following a heart attack every minute that a defibrillator is not used reduces the chances of survival by some 10 per cent.

This is where a Community First Responder can save lives.

The two trainees that will benefit are Andy MacAuley from Bitterley and Charlotte Swinbourne from Woofferton.

Charlotte was recently the first on scene at an horrific motorcycle accident at the notorious Woofferton junction on the A49.

“It made me decide that I wanted to be in a position to help – there was more that I possibly could have done for the casualty had I had more training and, importantly, the right equipment” she said.

It is expected that on completion of the training there will be a short period of familiarisation including travelling with paramedics and ambulances to observe procedures etc before ‘going live’ by the end of the year.

The ‘bed-pushers’ who collected the money are wholeheartedly behind this plan to help the first responders.

Since 2007 The League of Friends has spent over £324,358 on equipment for Ludlow Hospital, replacing every bed, all bedside furniture digital TVs, airflow pressure relieving mattresses, curtains and equipment for the maternity unit, a renal dialysis unit for 10 patients, ultrasound scanner, audiology booth, a relatives room, visual field testing equipment, retinopathy camera and physiotherapy equipment and many other items.

Current requests for new equipment include a new fully digitised x-ray system and treatment couches for dialysis patients, a total cost of £173,000.

Pending the outcome of service reviews a further £260,000 may be needed for the midwifery services at Ludlow and re-organisation of the minor injuries unit and outpatients departments.