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Friday, 14 April, 2000, 06:11 GMT 07:11 UK
Volunteers to cover emergency calls
Ambulance
In rural areas it can take ambulances a long time to reach patients
A project to use volunteers to cut ambulance response times has been unveiled in mid Wales.

St John Ambulance staff will respond to emergency night calls in Rhayader.

The aim is for St John Ambulance crews to get to the patient more quickly than the regular ambulance and start administering first aid.

They could administer the sort of treatment that would prevent the patient dying while they are waiting for the health service ambulance to arrive.

The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust has set up the First Responder Scheme to cover the Rhyader area.

St John Ambulance staff will stand in between the hours of 1800 BST and 0600 BST.

Similar schemes

The volunteers will be given four days additional training to deal with patients with a life-threatening condition.

They will also attend emergency calls with ambulance crews to gain experience.

Mark Winter, Staff Officer for the central and west region of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said although St John Ambulance volunteers did not have as much frontline experience of emergencies as the fire service, they were still trained and used to dealing with trauma situations.

Similar schemes in Crymych and Reynoldston have been very successful.

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