Opinion: Ambulance service celebrates Volunteers’ Week

YAS Chief Executive, Rod Barnes, launches the scheme with Welbeing Head of Sales, Adrian Sowden at Trust Headquarters
YAS Chief Executive, Rod Barnes, launches the scheme with Welbeing Head of Sales, Adrian Sowden at Trust Headquarters

Hundreds of volunteers who support Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) are being celebrated during Volunteers’ Week.

The campaign, which has run this week, is recognising the huge range of people who give their time to help others in so many ways.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust''Community First Responders.'Pix: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust''Community First Responders.'Pix: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com

In 2016/17, 19.8 million people in the UK officially volunteered at least once a year and 11.9 million people did so at least once a month.

On a regular basis, more than 1,000 people make a valuable contribution to YAS by volunteering as Community First Responders (CFRs), car drivers and members of the Critical Friends Network.

CFRs attend medical emergencies in their community and provide vital care, comfort and reassurance in the moments before an ambulance arrives. They are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and carry a defibrillator, oxygen and basic first aid equipment.

They often go the extra mile to help patients and their families, as in the case of CFR Fiona Romano who was called to help a man with chest pain at a local cinema. He was not from the area and his wife had not driven for some time, but she needed to take their car to hospital so that she could get home afterwards.

Paul Stevens, Head of Community Resilience at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, says that CFRs are integral to the service provided, praising the “fantastic” team of dedicated volunteers who provide outstanding care and significantly contribute to improving patient outcomes from life-threatening conditions. Last year, they provided 307,057 hours of coverage, attending over 16,000 incidents. The non-emergency Patient Transport Service is supported by more than 200 volunteer car drivers who use their own vehicles to help eligible patients get to and from medical appointments.

We’re extremely proud of our volunteers who give up a huge amount of their personal time to provide the best possible service to patients within their local communities every single day. They don’t expect to be thanked, but we always appreciate their dedication. We hope that Volunteers’ Week will inspire even more people to come forward and help others in the community.