Parish Council Supports First Responders

Dear Mr Catling and Mr Marsh

Withdrawal of Drugs from Community First Responder Portfolio

Abbots Bromley Parish Council is greatly disturbed by the recent announcement of the withdrawal of a number of key drugs from the Community First Responder (CFR) portfolio. The Council seeks reassurance from you both, as the current and future controllers of policy and operations, that this dilution in the quality of service to our community will be swiftly overcome and the previous levels of capability will be re-instated and maintained.

Yours sincerely

Abbots Bromley is a rural parish that can be anything through 15mins up to half an hour between a ‘999’ call and the arrival of an ambulance. We were therefore immensely impressed by the CFR proposition. Supported by the Council, two of the Councillors worked with the community and the Staffordshire Ambulance Service (SAS), leading to the successful implementation of the Abbot Bromley CFR group in February 2005.

Since its inception the Abbots Bromley CFR group has provided 24/7 cover for virtually every day and has attended over 600 calls across a wide range of situations. It is now respected and implicitly relied on by our community.

The withdrawal of key drugs is self-evidently a major reduction in the quality of service and, we believe, an un-necessary one. In our understanding Responders are trained in drug administration to the same level as ambulance technicians by the same trainers. Therefore this cannot be an issue of training or competence.

We are deeply concerned by the apparent lack of swift, positive retrieval action to this issue. We understand that there seems to be more effort being spent in defending why the drugs were withdrawn than in developing solutions for their re-instatement. Given this situation we are most uneasy that this implies potential long term issues for the CFR group that supports our community.

Abbots Bromley Parish Council is therefore seeking re-assurance
1. from the current management (Staffordshire Ambulance Service) that the problem is being urgently and positively addressed
2. from the prospective management (West Midlands Ambulance Service) that the CFR support that is crucial to the response time and patient care in our rural community will be maintained at or above the original Staffordshire Ambulance Service levels and capabilities.

Yours sincerely

Keep Your Post Office

In a letter to Parish Councils, the Countryside Alliance urges local communities to recgnise the importance of the services that are provided by their Post Office. They write:

“As you will know, rural services are the lifeblood of rural communities, especially in the more remote areas of the country. This is borne out by research which has shown that 91% of people feel that Post Offices play an important role in their communities. Facts like this are particularly poignant when set against the bleak reality of our times: seven out of 10 villages in England no longer have a shop; rural Britain has lost over a quarter of bank branches since 1995 and 20 traditional pubs are closing every month across Britain.

So when the Government announced in February its decision not to renew the Post Office Card Account (POCA) beyond 2010 and failed to make a decision on the subsidy given to rural Post Offices, it became clear that these threats to the future of rural Post Offices have the potential to devastate the communities they serve.

The Government needs to understand that the real value of a Post Office cannot be measured simply by turnover, and it must recognise that the benefit to the community goes far beyond the ‘doorstep’ of the Post Office.

If you feel the same as we do about your local Post Office then please help us to help save them. We have been asking our members to write urgently to Jim Fitzpatrick MP, the minister responsible for Post Offices, to let him know what their local Post Offices mean to them and what the loss would mean to their communities. If Mr Fitzpatrick’s postbag tells him how communities feel he will hopefully recognise the importance of this issue, and if every community in the countryside is displaying cards saying ‘love the Post Office, love the countryside’, the message will be clearer still.”

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