Students provide lifeline for local community

Passionate medical and allied health professional students are taking their skills to the community in a life-saving initiative they are leading in Leicester City Centre.

Leicester University Community First Responders (LUCFR) are trained student volunteers who will be responding to patients in their local community to support East Midlands Ambulance Service. They have been trained to provide potentially life-saving medical treatment to 999 emergency patients while the paramedics travel to the scene.

A community first responder (CFR) is a volunteer who gives up their spare time to respond to 999 calls for the ambulance service, in addition to a traditional ambulance service resource being dispatched. As community first responders are ordinary people based within the local community, they are often much closer to incidents when the initial 999 calls are made and are able to arrive within minutes to start lifesaving treatment before the ambulance crew arrive.

Now, students from our University have established their own CFR scheme, based at the University’s George Davies Centre and run entirely by a small and dedicated collective of students. There are currently 32 students enrolled as first responders, split between two cohorts.

Scheme co-ordinator and President Stuart Evans said: “Our primary aim is to improve outcomes for patients in the local community, having experienced first-hand the vital role that CFRs play in providing early, life-saving treatment.Longer term we are hoping to support local community events alongside the ambulance service, to provide CPR and first aid training. We’re really keen to improve public awareness of how to conduct CPR properly through education and engagement. “

All volunteers are trained to respond by the East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The training has been conducted at the University of Leicester, covering topics such as basic life support, automated external defibrillation, oxygen therapy, medical emergencies and unconscious patient assessment.

The scheme is entirely reliant on donations and fundraising activities undertaken by the students. The students have secured funding for a scheme car through the University of Leicester and University of Leicester Students’ Union, which they will be leasing over a three year period. The car will be located in a designated parking space at the George Davies Centre.

The team will also be fundraising for ongoing costs such as response kits and suction units through the Santander and Crowdfunding ‘What’s your idea campaign’. Estimates for the team’s equipment costs can be found here.