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EP10 Community first responders‘ contribution to rural emergency medical service provision in the UK
  1. Vanessa Botan1,
  2. Zahid Asghar1,
  3. Elise Rowan1,
  4. Murray D Smith1,
  5. Gupteswar Patel1,
  6. Viet-Hai Phung1,
  7. Ian Trueman1,
  8. Robert Spaight2,
  9. Amanda Brewster1,
  10. Pauline Mountain1,
  11. Roderick Orner1,
  12. Aloysius Niroshan Siriwardena1
  1. 1Community and Health Research Unit, School of Health and Social Care, Lincoln Medical School, University of Lincoln, UK
  2. 2East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, UK


Background Community First Responders (CFRs) are volunteers dispatched by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to potentially life-threatening emergencies to provide care until the ambulance staff arrive. Previous qualitative research described CFRs’ role, perceptions, and motivations, but quantitative evidence on their contribution to rural healthcare provision is lacking. We aimed to investigate the number, types, and location of calls (rural or urban), and characteristics of patients attended.

Methods We used a retrospective observational design analysing routine data from six of ten ambulance services in England during 2019. Descriptive statistics were used to directly compare incidents where CFRs attended first with attendances from ambulance staff. A multiple logistic regression model was used to identify the main predictors of CFR attendance.

Results The data included 4.5 million incidents over one year. CFRs attended first a significantly higher proportion of calls in rural areas compared to urban areas (3.90% vs 1.48%, p<0.05). The main predictors of CFR presence were rurality (Odds Ratio [OR] 2.05, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 1.99-2.11, p<0.001), conditions including cardiorespiratory (OR 9.20, 95%CI 5.08-16.64, p<0.001) or neurological/endocrine (OR 9.26, 95%CI 5.12-16.77, p<0.001) and the most urgent call category 1 (OR 5.19, 95%CI 3.86-6.99, p<0.001) and call category 2 (OR 4.44, 95%CI 3.31-5.96 p<0.001). CFRs were also less likely to attend patients from minority ethnic backgrounds, those younger than 39 years, and incidents in more deprived areas.

Conclusions CFRs play an important role in EMS delivery, supporting the work of ambulance services, especially in rural areas. The work of CFRs has expanded from its original purpose to attend out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to more types of emergencies. Future development of CFR schemes should prioritise training for a range of conditions, and access to more deprived and ethnically diverse areas.

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