Stephen Roberts, Operations Manager, Community Support for the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, has been presented with a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation Award in recognition of his work in developing the Medical Co-responder scheme between Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust.
Chief Fire Officer Roger Thomas presented Stephen with his award to mark his retirement from the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, following a 37-year career.
On presenting the Commendation Award to Stephen, Chief Fire Officer Roger Thomas commented: ‘Stephen has played an integral part of the supporting structure that has linked the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. He has been instrumental in developing the Medical Co-responder scheme between our two organisations, which has led to 19 of our fire and rescue stations now being able to respond to medical incidents on behalf of the Ambulance Service. His enthusiasm and unwavering support for Fire Medical Response have seen him provide training along with professional guidance and support to many fire and rescue service personnel.
‘On behalf of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service I would like to thank him for all his work and wish him well for a long, happy and healthy retirement.’
Medical Co-responder Scheme
For many years, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service have been involved in a joint Co-Responding Scheme, which aims to provide the earliest possible response to life-threatening medical emergencies. The first co-responder scheme was introduced in 1998 at Reynoldston Fire Station. Following its success, 18 further locations across mid and west Wales have become co-responder stations.
Over the last decade, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has responded to over 15,000 medical emergency calls in co-responder vehicles on behalf of the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust.
Primary responsibility for responding to medical emergencies lies with the Ambulance Service. The Co-responder Schemes do not replace these services but rather enhance them in a practical way by making good use of medically trained and suitably equipped firefighters, who are, on occasion, closer to the scene of an incident than Ambulance crews. Whilst firefighters will provide an initial response to certain categories of calls, Ambulance crews will also be mobilised to these calls, taking over from the firefighters when they arrive.