A life-saving partnership between the ambulance service and firefighters is being trialled in Ramsey.

The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has been working with six fire and rescue services across the region on a pilot that will involve firefighters attending cardiac arrests.

In Huntingdonshire, the scheme is being trialled with personnel from Ramsey's on-call fire station.

Ricky Hylton, assistant chief fire officer, said: “We are very excited to begin this trial. Our on-call crews taking part are already at the heart of their communities and have been very enthusiastic during the planning stages and are keen to get started.”

The scheme will see firefighters deployed in response cars in addition to ambulance clinicians and community first responders to calls where a patient is not breathing and their heart has stopped beating.

Rob Ashford, acting director of service delivery for EEAST, said: “We already work closely with 999 colleagues and this is an extension of our partnership to help patients with an immediately life-threatening condition.”

If the trial of what is termed 'blue-light service co-responding' prove successful and cost-effective, the idea could soon be put into practice in other stations across Huntingdonshire and the East.

“Building on the collaborative work already undertaken through community first response (CFR), public access defibrillation and RAF co-response schemes, we also believe co-response schemes can add significantly to our ability to respond to patients quickly and start basic life support.

“We know that the quicker someone starts cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and gets a defibrillator to a patient in cardiac arrest the better chance they have of surviving.

“The ambulance service will continue to send clinicians to such patients as a top priority, but the best thing for the patient is to get someone trained in basic life support to their side as quickly as possible,” added Mr Ashford.

Across the UK, around a third of the country's fire services have already started working with the ambulance service by responding to 999 medical emergencies such as heart attacks, severe chest pains and choking.