Student paramedic’s plan will save lives in Ribble Valley

Matt Dugdale with Nigel Evans. (s)
Matt Dugdale with Nigel Evans. (s)

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans met recently with a student paramedic from Chatburn to discuss his proposed four-point plan to improve survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

Matt Dugdale, a volunteer with the Community Resuscitation Team, is already on the way to putting his plans into action and has secured funding for 22 new 24-hour Community Public Access Defibrillators across the Ribble Valley, thanks a big fundraising effort and generous local donations.

The defibrillators will be installed alongside the 13 already in place around the Ribble Valley, with a further 31 sites currently being assessed for funding. This would bring the total to around 60 defibrillators across the region, which would dramatically improve the odds of members of the public surviving a cardiac arrest.

Alongside the fundraising and planning, Matt is also enlisting the help of local secondary schools, asking them to pledge to deliver a one hour North West Ambulance Service Defibrillator Awareness Course to all Year 7 pupils. So far, Longridge High School and Bowland High School have committed themselves fully to the programme.

The third point of the plan is to recruit more Community First Responders for the area, as there are a number of hard to reach areas of the Ribble Valley which are not currently assigned a Community First Responder, such as Rimington, Downham, Gisburn and Wiswell.

More volunteers would help the Community Resuscitation Team significantly reduce the length of time before crucial help arrives. As such, Matt is leading the campaign to get the community involved.

Nigel Evans said: “Matt is already doing incredible work to improve people’s lives across the Ribble Valley. Being a rural area, the time between somebody going into cardiac arrest and them getting to hospital can be far longer than for those living in urban areas.

“The new measures in Matt’s plan are simple, but they will certainly save lives. All that is needed is funding and awareness.”

Matt commented: “The final point of the plan is to find funding for a new Community Based Volunteer Staff Responder Car, stocked with emergency response apparatus. At present, the Ribble Valley only has one Emergency Ambulance, which means if there are two or more cardiac arrests at the same time, only one can be attended. Funding for a new vehicle would completely mitigate this risk. Ultimately, these new measures can and will save people’s lives.”

l To volunteer as a Community First Responder or help with funding, email: 
matthew.dugdale@nwas.nhs.uk