Wiltshire Publications

Employer’s support for first responder

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is delighted to recognise Wheeler’s Westbury Ltd for supporting an employee to volunteer as a Community First Responder and respond to medical emergencies whilst at work.

Stewart Ackland works as an IT manager for Wheeler’s Westbury Ltd and has for 16 years. He has also been a community first responder for South Western Ambulance Service since March 2015.

Community first responders (CFRs) are volunteers who support their local community by attending emergency calls ahead of the arrival of an ambulance. Every-day responders from across the South West attend emergencies within their local communities. Sometimes the difference is providing reassurance prior to the arrival of an ambulance; sometimes it is saving someone’s life.

Over the past year, Stewart has responded to nearly 300 emergency 999 calls, the majority of these calls he attended during work hours.

Stewart said, “I’ve been called out to every sort of job you can imagine, from cardiac arrests, to broken limbs. I also have a raizer lifting chair, so when a patient has fallen and can’t get up, but hasn’t injured themselves, I am able to lift the patient and often prevent the need for an ambulance.”

The trust says that Kieron Borgeat, managing director of Wheeler’s Westbury Ltd, has been incredibly generous with allowing Stewart so much flexibility at work.

Kieron said, “To make this work, trust and flexibility on both sides is the key. Stewart is given the authority to manage his availability, logging on and off as necessary to strike the right balance between his day-to-day responsibilities for Wheeler’s and our significant support for the community first responders.”

David Wilmot, SWASFT community first responder officer for Wiltshire said, “Some employers make a real contribution to the safety and resilience of their local communities by allowing community first responders to respond from work. Such flexibility at work makes a real difference and helps to save lives.”