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New Lifting Aid To Benefit Cornwall Patients


More patients in Cornish communities are benefiting from a volunteer-led South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) initiative after it received new funds.


Torpoint’s Community Responder group raised more than £3,000 through South Western Ambulance Charity to purchase a new lifting chair for patients who have fallen at home and are unable to get up.


The scheme involves patients calls 999 and trained volunteers, called Community First Responders (CFRs), attending them.


In each incident, the CFR assesses the patient with support from a clinician in the Control Hub. They use the lifting chair to move patients from the floor to a sitting or standing position, and the clinician decides if an ambulance is required.


The initiative reduces patient wait times and can avoid them needing to go hospital. It also frees-up frontline crews to be available for life-threatening incidents.


Around a third of people aged 65+ and about half of people aged 80+ fall at least once a year.


Falls can cause pain and distress, and may lead to serious health problems. They often result in people losing their confidence and independence.


The lifting concept was developed in 2017 as a way to attend and assess non-injury falls patients more quickly, developing the skills and experience of CFRs with help from clinicians.


During an eight-week trial involving 17 groups across the South West waiting times for non-injury falls patients were cut by 12.5%.


Of the incidents attended by a CFR 77% did not need support from a paramedic, saving 148 hours of frontline resource time.


SWASFT was given the Best Care of Older People accolade at the Health Service Journal’s 2018 Patient Safety Awards for the initiative.

CFRs are trained volunteers who attend emergency incidents and deliver care in their local communities, on behalf of SWASFT, while an ambulance is on its way.

Torpoint Lifting Chair.JPG

Brian Jones, from Torpoint Community Responder Group, said:


“We are delighted to have received this funding, thanks to the generosity of various local organisations.


“The lifting scheme enables us to further support patients at home in their local community in a robust and safe way. It means patients can be helped back onto their feet in a safe and more-timely manner.


“That reduces the risk of potential complications, and often removes the need for an ambulance to attend.”


  • The photos shows members of the Torpoint Community First Responders with the new lifting chair.

  • The following groups donated towards the cost of the new chair: Torpoint Lions, Torpoint Royal Naval Association,  Antony Parish Council,  Torcare,  Community Health Around Torpoint,  Torpoint WI,  Crafthole WI, and Wilcove Art Group.

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