Fire, police and ambulance services in Surrey have won national recognition for their partnership working to help save more lives.
They won the ‘working together’ gold award at the annual Improvement and Efficiency Awards which celebrate new ways of working across the public sector.
The judges commended Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Surrey Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service for innovative projects aimed at better serving communities while ensuring maximum value for money.
These include a co-responding scheme which involves firefighters giving medical help to patients while an ambulance is on its way. Firefighters participating in the scheme are trained in giving emergency care and carry kit including defibrillators, saving vital minutes in the race to save lives.
In another initiative, firefighters have taken on responsibility from the police for giving ambulance crews quick access to the homes of patients who are critically ill and unable to open their doors to paramedics. In a third, fire and ambulance services help the police search for missing people.
Kay Hammond, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Associate for Community Safety Services, said: ‘I’m delighted the hard work of emergency services in Surrey has been praised and recognised nationally. By working more closely together we are not only making our resources go further but also better serving our communities and helping to save even more lives.’
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry, of Surrey and Sussex Police, said: ‘I’m pleased to see that the collaborative work of Surrey blue light services has been recognised at a national level. We have already jointly made significant progress in improving our service to the public, as well as introducing more efficient ways of working together to reduce overall costs and provide better value for money and we are continuing to explore a range of further options.’
Chief Operating Officer for South East Coast Ambulance Service, James Kennedy said: ‘The work of the emergency services has always been about working together and collaborating so it is great to see the effort of teams across all the emergency services being recognised in this way.
The awards were organised by the Improvement and Efficiency Social Enterprise, known as iESE.
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, together with Surrey County Council’s adult social care team, won the iESE award ‘Fire and Rescue Project of the Year’ two years ago for work to keep vulnerable people safe in their homes.