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Medical students from the University of Oxford, trained by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), are England's first Student Responders.

2013-06-20 Student first respondersSouth Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) Community Liaison and Training Officers David England and Ian Jones working together with Oxford University Medical School have launched the first Student Responder Scheme in England to have their own response vehicle.

Over the past few weeks SCAS has recruited 48 volunteers from fourth and fifth year medical students at Oxford University to provide early and often vital intervention for patients suffering life-threatening medical emergencies whilst an ambulance response is en route to the scene.

To date 34 medical students have been trained by SCAS to respond to incidents across the three counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. 17 of the volunteers have passed a driving assessment which qualifies them to use one of the ambulance Trust's dynamic response Vauxhall Corsa cars.

Members of the Student First Responder Scheme will be carrying the same equipment as a Community First Responder (CFR) plus Entonox and will follow the same protocols as a CFR. They will work as a crew of two proceeding to 999 calls as directed by SCAS' Emergency Operations Centre at normal road speed.  The students will be doing shifts in their free time and will cover towns and villages across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

David England SCAS Community Liaison & Training Officer said: 'When I came up with the idea of using medical students for responding I didn't think we would get 34 signed up and trained so quickly. The students spend their time on placements in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and others across the region, but this hands-on pre-hospital experience will be an eye opener for them. Not only will it inspire some to specialise in pre-hospital care in the future but it will also make today's medical students and tomorrow's junior doctors better prepared to deal with life-threatening emergencies in-hospital as well.'

Student First Response Scheme Co-ordinator and medical student, William Seligman commented: 'Oxford University enjoys a reputation for excellence in academia, teaching and research. By volunteering as Student First Responders, Oxford University Medical School is leading the way nationally in community and volunteering initiatives as well, hopefully inspiring other medical schools to do similar things. Ground breaking initiatives such as the Student First Responder Scheme demonstrate our commitment to working with others to improve patient outcomes in our local communities.'

Seligman's fellow medical student and Co-ordinator, Sameer Ganatra, added: "The Oxford Student First Responder Scheme is one of the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and it provides an unrivalled opportunity for us to gain valuable hands on experience in pre hospital care whilst enabling us to work with the local ambulance service to benefit patients across three counties.'  

2013-06-20 Student first respondersHead of the Medical Sciences Division and Dean of the Oxford Medical School Professor Alastair Buchan, said: 'The Student First Responder Scheme is a fantastic initiative that will enable medical students to be first on-scene at major life-threatening medical emergencies. The opportunity for our students to be present at the earliest stages of a patient's injury or illness will be of immense educational value as well as helping patients on their road to recovery.'

Dr Tim Lancaster, Director of Clinical Studies at Oxford Medical School, said: 'It is very important that our medical school is embedded in our community. The Student First Responder Scheme affords our students a wonderful opportunity to learn to listen and listen to learn and in doing so to make a significant contribution to the health and well being of local communities.'

SCAS Medical Director Dr John Black said: 'The Student First Responder Scheme represents an exciting training opportunity for Oxford University Medical students and is an excellent example of partnership working between the NHS and higher education that will benefit the next generation of doctors and the patients they see and treat.'

Dr Syed Masud, Consultant in A&E and Pre-Hospital Care at the John Radcliffe Hospital, said: 'The Student First Responder Scheme is part of the bigger picture in pre-hospital care and emergency medicine. The students have started up a Society for Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine and Major Trauma and in partnership with the Emergency Services will be holding their inaugural national conference in November 2013.  The John Radcliffe Hospital is fully supporting both initiatives.'

The Student First Responder Scheme was launched on Monday 17 June from the A&E Deck of the John Radcliffe Hospital.

For more information, or to arrange an interview please contact James Keating-Wilkes on 07901 008515 or mail

Read more on BBC

Watch on BBC South (from 4:38)

Top left: Members of Oxford University's Medical Student First Responders pictured during training.
Middle right: Left to Right - Dr Tim Lancaster, Professor Alastair Buchan, Student Responders,  Sameer Ganatra and William Seligman, David England, Dr John Black and Dr Syed Masud