A PIONEERING district community paramedics scheme looks set to continue.
The pilot scheme, the first of its kind in West Yorkshire, has paramedics based at Skelmanthorpe village health centre on standby seven days a week.
Despite its success, the 18-month long pilot had been under threat, but now thanks to pressure from local councillors, another 12 months of funding has been secured.
Former Denby Dale ward councillor Maggie Blanshard, said: “We have contacted the Primary Care Trust several times, supporting the scheme and asking for it to be made permanent.
“We believe it has significantly improved patient care in our semi-rural area and I am extremely pleased with the news that this scheme is now set to continue.”
The Denby Dale Area Committee chairman, Clr Elaine Ward, said: “There was talk of it being axed, but they serve us very well and we want it to stay - it contributes greatly towards the ward.”
Carol McKenna, director of commissioning and strategic development at Kirklees PCT said: “We have developed the community paramedic scheme in partnership with the Skelmanthorpe practice based on the need of the local community and are pleased at how well it is working.
“The future of the scheme will be sustained by long term out of hours care plans.”
In the first five months of the scheme the paramedics attended 373 emergencies and three times out of four met Government targets of arriving at the scene in under eight minutes.
Robert Eastwood, from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, helped to secure the extra funding required for the scheme to continue.
He said: “This innovative project has gone down very well with local residents.
“The scheme is helping Yorkshire Ambulance Service get to more Category A life-threatening emergency calls in the area within the target time of eight minutes.
“In addition, over half of patients attended by the community paramedics have not been conveyed to hospital which has resulted in there being more resources available for emergency calls.”
Al Day, a paramedic who has been involved with the scheme since its launch, said he had enjoyed working as part of the community team.
“We have been able to get to know the residents better, be proactive in our approach and address the real needs of communities by working within them.
“I think people always feel that villages in rural areas are incredibly isolated, but the fact that the team is here seven days a week to respond to 999 calls has provided residents with a huge reassurance.”