THE south's ambulance teams have been shortlisted for a prestigious national award for their contribution to healthcare amid the challenges of the pandemic.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and South Central Ambulance Charity’s volunteer responders have been shortlisted for Outstanding Volunteering Team of the Year at the Helpforce Champions Awards 2021.

The 1,200-strong team of Community First Responders (CFRs) and Co-Responders are up against four other organisations.

Volunteer responders are members of the public trained to support the ambulance service primarily by attending medical emergencies and sometimes providing lifesaving first aid to patients before paramedics arrive.

They also assist with ongoing patient care at the scene and attend more than 30,000 incidents every year.

They are funded solely by South Central Ambulance Charity, which provides equipment, training and is responsible for the vehicle fleet of 51.

“Our CFRs have weathered every storm this year and still come out in strength to provide essential emergency care for patients across our community,” said Vanessa Casey, Chief Executive of South Central Ambulance Charity.

“With the support of SCAS's Community Engagement and Training team and the charity, this incredible group has enabled us to reach even more patients, treat and leave even more patients in their own homes and supported the welfare of elderly and vulnerable patients by responding to non-injury falls and concern for welfare calls.

“These ‘ordinary’ people take on an extraordinary role in their community and, without them, the demand on the ambulance service would be even greater.”

Helpforce was set up by former Marie Curie charity chief executive Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett to accelerate the growth and impact of volunteering in the NHS by collaborating with organisations and rapidly sharing insights and best practice.

Winners will be announced on October 30.