A thank you to Rother Responders

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We all know how stretched the NHS is these days. You only have to escort a friend or relative to the A and E units at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings or the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford to see the grim realities of the constant pressures under which these departments operate and the great dedication of the staff working in often very difficult and challenging circumstances. The regional ambulance service too is under pressure, particularly to meet targets for response times, as has been been well documented in the national press recently.

There was a time a few years back when Rye had its very own ambulance station, situated at the top of the hill near the Rye Memorial Hospital. That is now gone, so if you need an ambulance or paramedic services in an emergency the crews are likely to have travel from Hastings or beyond with, of course, increased response times.

Fortunately, in this area we do have the additional emergency cover provided by the volunteers of the Rother Responders, who are trained to work in collaboration with the ambulance service. Many people will have seen the the cardiac defibrillators provided by the Rother Responders that have been placed at strategic points around the town. On Wednesday night I saw for myself just what an invaluable service this organisation provides in an emergency.

It so happened that I needed to call an ambulance on behalf of a family member who was in excruciating pain. It also happened that on that Wednesday night there were no ambulance or paramedic crews available in the immediate area. The nearest available paramedics turned out to be in Hailsham, nearly 30 miles from Rye by road. This is how stretched the service really is. The paramedics came as swiftly as they could, dependable, professional and reassuring as always. In the meantime a gentleman from Rother Responders arrived within a few minutes from Fairlight to provide an immediate assessment and intermediate care.

In this case the problem was resolved without needing hospital care. However, over the years I have seen the NHS save the lives of family and friends on several occasions and and help heal some very severe injuries. Both my mother and my late father worked in the NHS, as have many relatives going right back to its inception in 1948. So I find it very distressing to see all the problems our health system is currently going through. But I salute all the staff who work so hard with such dedication to keep the organisation going in these very challenging times.

And right now I want to thank all the unsung volunteers at Rother Responders for the excellent community service they are providing in this area to back up our NHS. If you want to know more and wish to make a donation to help Rother Responders please visit their website here. You never know, they might just help save your life one day!

Photos: Rye News library

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