In response to various media reports around the EEAST looking into options that may increase the use of Community First Responders (CFRs) UNISONs position is that
“Community First Responders play an important role – particularly in rural areas. However Ambulance Trusts across England have not had sufficient funding in recent years and there are simply not enough staff. We welcome the increased funding that EEAST will receive and we hope that it will result in a significant increase in emergency response staff in the region”
The EEAST have been clear with UNISON that at present they are seeking feedback only on ideas and are ‘very clear’ at this point, this is information gathering only. The trust are considering options for contingency when the service experiences severe winter pressures and are exploring ‘what if’ scenarios.
UNISON does not accept volunteers as members. However, given that it is not unusual for volunteers to engage in voluntary work as a stepping stone toward paid employment, developing positive relations with volunteers can pay dividends in membership recruitment at a later stage.