UTTOXETER needs first responders as much as the surrounding villages - the widow of the man behind the group has said.
Liz Bailey, wife of Cliff who passed away last year, hit back at Matt Heward, community response manager for West Midlands Ambulance Service, after he said they would not be training people from Uttoxeter to become part of the Dove Valley Community First Responders – only the surrounding villages.
He told the Post and Times that the reason for this is because there is already a paramedic responsible for the town and the responders are needed in the areas surrounding it such as Denstone and Rocester.
The service will only train volunteers in the areas where they are needed, so anyone interested in volunteering from the surrounding villages would get the help they need.
However, Mrs Bailey said the majority of the calls to the service are to the town so the support and training is needed.
She said: “All the responders want to do is a good job.
“They want to recruit from across the area and people want to do the training. We can see a problem with the vehicles as they have got to be kept in the villages.
“However, the majority of the calls are to Uttoxeter so they obviously need more than one paramedic there.
“They are not recruiting more people, just replacing ones that have left through other commitments.”
Mrs Bailey added that some pain relief drugs had been withdrawn and getting others had become a battle, a claim denied by Mr Heward.
The drugs are only given to the fully qualified responders and not the other volunteers.
Mrs Bailey said: “I have been told that some pain killing drugs have been removed and this happened a while ago.
“They virtually have to beg for the drugs that they do get.”
Despite the ongoing battle, Mrs Bailey has reassured residents that the Dove Valley Community First Responders are not going anywhere and will continue to fight for what they need.
She said: “The first responders are not shutting down and will fight to the end to get what they want.
“They will carry on as long as they can, which will be forever if things are changed.
“Peoples reaction to the responders are incredible and everyone really is so supportive of them.
“People are so willing to give to them which is amazing.
“It is a facility we shouldn’t need to have but if we lost them people are going to die as there will be no one to help them.
“By the time the ambulance service gets here from Burton or Stoke on Trent then it could be too late.
“They have saved so many lives in the town and the surrounding villages.”
Mr Heward said previously that the service recruits 72 first responders from across the region each year and this has been the same for five years.
However, there has been a change in the number of people coming forward to volunteer.