Paramedic rapid response
As well as crews who work together on an ambulance, we have staff who work on their own. These are known as rapid responders. They are sent to a patient ahead of an ambulance and are able to start emergency treatment without the help of an ambulance crew.
They use cars or, at some open-air events they may use a bicycle to move through crowds quickly. We do not use motorbikes in the North East Ambulance Service. All of these vehicles carry the vital life-saving equipment needed in an emergency.
In life-threatening emergencies we will send a rapid responder and an ambulance crew to treat the patient. In these situations every second counts, and a rapid responder can get through the traffic faster than a large ambulance which means we can get treatment to a patient more quickly.
However, our rapid responder have been fully trained to work on their own. They are all paramedics who have the skills to assess patients to see whether they definitely need treatment by an ambulance crew.
In some parts of the North East, we are supported by community first responders, who work for us on a voluntary basis. These are members of the public who have had emergency life-support training, and they respond alongside our staff to life-threatening 999 calls.
NHS commissioners and ourselves are currently reviewing the number of rapid responders and double-crewed ambulances we need to ensure that we have sufficient resources available for those patients who need them and achieve our ambulance response standards.