Funds needed for life-saving aids

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Funds needed for life-saving aids

Post by GD on Fri 03 Jun 2011, 7:00 pm


ALDERNEY’S voluntary ambulance service is trying to raise £38,000 for important equipment.St John Alderney needs a heart monitor for its second ambulance and two hoists. The monitor costs £16,000, while the hoists are £11,000 each.

Chief ambulance officer Mel Walden said the heart monitor is a vital piece of life-saving equipment.

‘It measures the rhythm of someone’s heart, their blood pressure and pulse rate, among other things. It’s vital if you’re transporting anyone who is ill, as it gives us vital information that we can pass on to a doctor as soon as we arrive at the hospital.’

St John Alderney’s main ambulance contains a state-of-the-art heart monitor, but the service often has to use the second vehicle on call-outs due to a lack of qualified drivers. And though the second ambulance contains all the relevant heart monitoring paraphernalia, the equipment is unable to provide instant information.

Mel went on to say that the hoists were required as patients were getting bigger.

‘We’re mainly an all-female crew and the people we’re lifting are getting heavier. We cannot afford for anyone to sustain a back injury and there’s also the health and safety aspect.’

St John Alderney chairman Rosalind Michel said she hoped islanders would dig deep.

‘We know times are hard, but every little would help,’ she said. ‘We’re doing our best to raise awareness by writing letters to companies and approaching the media. We’ve also got a jumble sale on 11 June and flag day on 18 June. After those events we’ll see how far we need to go.’

Mel also revealed that St John Alderney would benefit from extra investment or look to operate as a full-time service.

‘We’re getting to the point where I don’t know how much longer we will be able to remain voluntary.

‘People say we should just get more volunteers, but it takes a long time to train someone up. You have to have two qualified people and then a third person being the dogsbody to learn the job.’

Rosalind said Alderney is looking to receive extra support from Guernsey’s Health and Social Services Department.

‘The HSSD spends £2.2m. a year on ambulance services in Guernsey but doesn’t pay us anything. Guernsey started out as a voluntary service as well, but changed when different qualifications were introduced,’ she said.

‘If we changed, the States would have to employ us full-time. We would need at least eight people and it would cost a lot of money. It is important to them that we stay voluntary.’

The States currently funds St John Alderney to the tune of 45%. The remaining costs are covered by subscriptions, transport charges, donations and training fees. Each of St John Alderney’s 13 volunteers is fully trained and receives just a small sum for their services. (from gep)


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