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New blue light referral scheme launched

A new partnership referral scheme has been launched between Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST).

A new partnership referral scheme has been launched between Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) and the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), to help provide further support to vulnerable people living in the county.

A new system introduced yesterday (Wednesday 7 August) means that paramedics and ambulance service staff can make referrals directly to BFRS for people who they believe could benefit from a safe and well visit.

People who may be considered for a referral include the elderly, hoarders, and those with mobility or social care issues.

Within 24 hours of the referral being made, the vulnerable person will contacted by BFRS to arrange a visit from firefighters to provide advice and guidance on fire safety in the home, as well as installing safety equipment such as smoke alarms. During the visit, the firefighters will also signpost people to advice on topics such as smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as completing further referrals to other partner agencies if required.

Group Commander Stuart Auger said: “This is a significant step forward with one of our blue light partners which will give us access to help protect and support some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

“We already carry out thousands of safe and well visits across the county each year, but thanks to this new referral scheme, the ambulance service will be able to make direct referrals into us. This will help us understand exactly where vulnerable people are in the county and enable us to visit them as soon as possible.” 

Aaron Garwood, Leading Operations Manager for EEAST in Bedfordshire said: “This is another way in which we can work with communities to help keep people safe.  “Whether it is supporting people to quit smoking, or with alcohol and drug abuse, mobility issues, or falls prevention – or complex issues such as hoarding – by referring patients to this scheme with their consent, we can help ensure that risks to vulnerable people are reduced and we can help them get the support they need in the community.” 

The referral scheme was initially piloted in Luton and will now be rolled out across the county.