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MP Rory Stewart has raised with the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, the troubling issue of First Responders' lack of access to children in emergency situations. Following meetings with First Responders from Penrith and the Border, he is urging the Secretary to review existing legislation and protocols to try to find a compromise which would allow First Responder groups to respond in situations where a young life is at stake.
He said: "First Responders are currently prevented from treating children due to existing legislation. Generally it is felt to be more challenging to treat children; First Responders are not trained to do so, nor are they CRB-checked, and they do not have the necessary equipment. Specialist child defibrillator pads are very expensive."
"At the moment FRs receive call-outs from the ambulance service, but would not be called to an incident involving a child unless by mistake; however, they feel very strongly indeed that they should be able to be called upon in a life-saving situation. I would argue strongly for a compromise situation, whereby if possible the ambulance service would provide more training and equipment and would find a way of collaborating with FRs. There are many successful FR teams in this constituency, performing an absolutely vital role on a daily basis, and I think a sensible resolution to this issue is eminently possible. That is why I have written to the Secretary of State for Health requesting his input and support for this important issue."