Nigel meets with student paramedic to discuss a four-point plan to save lives

Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, recently met Matt Dugdale, a student paramedic from Chatburn, regarding his four point plan to improve survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

Mr Dugdale, a volunteer with the Community Resuscitation Team, has already put his plan in motion. Firstly, Matt has secured funding for 22 new 24/7 Community Public Access Defibrillators across the Ribble Valley thanks to generous local fundraising. These will be installed alongside the 13 already in place around the Ribble Valley. A further 31 are currently being assessed for funding. This would bring the total to around 60 defibrillators across the region, and these will drastically improve a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest.

This is not all that is being done however. Matt is also enlisting the help of local High Schools who are pledging to teach all year 7 pupils a one hour North West Ambulance Service Defibrillator Awareness Course. So far, Longridge High School and Bowland High School have committed themselves to this program. This fact, coupled with the new defibrillators will mean that those going into cardiac arrest can receive immediate treatment.

The third point of Mr Dugdale’s plan is to recruit more Community First Responders across the Ribble Valley. There are a number of hard to reach areas of the Ribble Valley which do not currently have a Community First Responder, such as Rimington, Downham, Gisburn and Wiswell. These volunteers can help the Community Resuscitation Team significantly reduce the length of time before help arrives. As such, Matt is leading the campaign to get the community involved.

Speaking from his home in Pendleton, 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 of Matt’s plan are simple, but they will certainly save lives. All that is needed is funding and awareness.”

The work is not, however, finished. The final point of the plan is to find funding for a new Community Based Volunteer Staff Responder Car, stocked with all the emergency response gear. At present, the Ribble Valley only has one Emergency Ambulance, which means that, if there are two or more cardiac arrests at the same time, only one can be attended to at once. Funding for a new responder car would mitigate against this risk. Ultimately, these new measures can and will save people’s lives and Nigel Evans, along with many others, are greatly looking forward to them being implemented.

If you would like to volunteer as a Community First Responder, or help with funding, please email Matt Dugdale at: matthew.dugdale@nwas.nhs.uk