London Borough of Barnet

Innovation Bank funding paves the way for medical response service

Published Friday 13 July 2012

A project to set up a ‘blue light’ emergency medical response service manned by off duty doctors and police officers is set to be launched thanks to funding from Barnet Council.

On Thursday (12 July) Councillor Robert Rams, Cabinet Member for Customer Access and Partnerships, officially handed over the keys for a fully equipped response car to members of the London Ambulance Service Voluntary Responder Group.

The handover at Hendon Town Hall comes after the group successfully bid for more than £28,000 of funding from Barnet Council’s Big Society Innovation Bank.

A portion of the funding will also pay for training the volunteers who will staff the service.

Delivery of the new response car will pave the way for the recruitment of off-duty doctors and police officers who will work in their spare time to provide a blue light emergency response on top of those provided by the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

The Volvo V50 response car is equipped with advanced first aid and life saving equipment including a defibrillator, and once in operation volunteers will be dispatched to serious medical emergencies across the borough in addition to paramedics from the LAS.

The Barnet based initiative follows a successful pilot of a similar service in Hillingdon, staffed by off-duty military personnel and police officers.

It was one of nine projects in Barnet to successfully bid for a slice of the £200,000 on offer in the first round of applications for Big Society Innovation Bank funding.

More than £400,000 of funding is available over the next two years.

Launched in June last year, the Innovation Bank allows residents and not-for-profit groups to submit bids for sums of between £500 and £50,000, helping those who approach local challenges with creative or entrepreneurial solutions to turn their ideas into reality.

Residents and groups wishing to submit an expression of interest for the second round of bidding, have until 27 July to do so.

Councillor Rams said: “I’m delighted that our Big Society Innovation Bank has been able to play such a direct role in making this worthwhile service possible.

“The funding being provided has paid for a fully equipped response car and the means to train a team of dedicated volunteers who will use it to respond to emergencies across the borough alongside the London Ambulance Service.

“This is a fantastic example of how some financial support, coupled with the commitment of volunteers can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Chris Hartley-Sharpe, London Ambulance Service First Responders Manager, said: “When someone’s heart stops beating, every second counts in getting essential basic life support to that patient.

“Our ambulances already reach a majority of patients in a life-threatening condition in less than eight minutes, but with this additional emergency medical response alongside, seriously ill and injured patients in Barnet will be reached even faster, giving them a much greater chance of survival.”

For more information on the Big Society Innovation Bank visit.

For more information about the London Ambulance Voluntary Responder Group visit or email

Notes to Editors

The London Ambulance Service Voluntary Responder Group is a charity offering financial support to volunteer groups responding to patients alongside traditional 999 ambulance response.

The London Ambulance Service Voluntary Responder Group currently provides support to three areas of work:

*Emergency responders – clinically-trained volunteers responding on blue lights alongside ambulances to 999 calls
*Community first responders – defibrillator-trained St John Ambulance volunteers attending on call from their homes and responding to 999 calls in their own car without blue lights alongside ambulances
*Public-access defibrillator sites – people who work at these locations trained to use a defibrillator and respond to emergencies while an ambulance is on the way.

Contact press officer: Nick Griffin