A NEW community first responder is ready to jump to the aid of patients across Saddleworth.
Catherine Johnstone qualified in November for the volunteer role after completing training and an exam with the North West Ambulance Service.
Now, armed with a kit bag and defibrillator, she is now ready to respond to local people who have called 999.
“When on call, I can get to patients in the community very quickly while an ambulance is en-route,” explained Catherine, owner of Saddleworth Physiotherapy Clinic in Uppermill.
“In Saddleworth we are a long way from the ambulance station and we are approaching winter pressures for the Ambulance Service which can make the waiting time even longer.”
Catherine, pictured right, can respond to emergencies including cardiac arrest, chest pain, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, seizures, collapse and bleeding.
She carries out patient observations, such as taking blood pressure, oxygens levels, temperature and heart rate, and also provides reassurance and support.
She can liaise with NWAS to change the status of a call if required and then hands over to the ambulance crew when they arrive.
Catherine, who carries an ID badge and wears a NWAS branded high-vis jacket, responded to her first calls in December, helping patients in Saddleworth and Carrbrook.
“My job as a physiotherapist gave me a background in health so I’ve found it okay so far,” she said.
“I’ve been involved with community first responders through CPR and defib training sessions at Ebenezer Congregational Church and decided I wanted to volunteer.
“I hope that my involvement as a community first responder will help the community locally.”
Uppermill’s fourth defibrillator was installed at Ebenezer Congregational Church last year after a campaign by local couple Audrey and Graham Lee.
After Graham suffered a cardiac arrest at home and unable to access a defibrillator, Audrey performed CPR for 12-and-a-half minutes before an ambulance arrived.
The couple raised more than £2,000 and Catherine helped secure funding and liaised with NWAS to get the defib in place on the outside of the church so it is now available for public use 24 hours per day.
They also purchased a training mannequin for free defib and CPR sessions, which will be delivered by Catherine at the church.
The next session is on Saturday, January 18 at 10.30am. All are welcome.