Shropshire villagers and Bristol company awarded for their innovation

Friday 14th November 2014 – 3.10pm – Chris Kowalik.

Pioneering technology created by a Bristol-based company for a Shropshire village to help rural areas respond to cases of cardiac arrest has proven so successful, it has been adopted throughout the county and beyond.

It began north of Shrewsbury two years ago with the creation of ‘Myddle Heartbeat’, a community group set-up to save lives in the village and surrounding areas.

Having bought a defibrillator and been trained in its use by West Midlands Ambulance Service, the challenge for the group was to find an inexpensive and effective way of any one of the numerous volunteers being called quickly to a cardiac arrest in a rural area where mobile phone coverage is poor.

The group contacted Bristol-based ‘Numbers Plus’ who adapted a telephone ring-round system originally intended for homeworkers telesales and put it to the test.

The system works by giving the ambulance control room one telephone number to ring which in turn calls each of the trained volunteers in quick succession until someone answers and confirms they can go to the patient. Having proven successful in Myddle, it is now being used by more than a dozen community defibrillator schemes.

The system itself will be further developed to simultaneously call all trained volunteers within a community scheme.

Its success was recognised with a ‘Business Support Award’ at West Midlands Ambulance Service’s ‘Excellence in the Community Awards’ ceremony at Walsall Football Club on Thursday 6th November.

Ian Conway, Phil Keyse

Pictured left to right: Ian Conway (Numbers Plus), Phil Keyse (Myddle Heartbeat), Sir Graham Meldrum (Chairman of West Midlands Ambulance Service).

Ian Conway, Managing Director of Numbers Plus said: “I was very humbled and very surprised to get the award tonight. It’s about getting the emergency control room in touch with the volunteers so they can go out and deal with it. We put something together that would work as a trial – and then it worked straight away. We have now 15 schemes in action and two in progress. I would like to see it go nationwide.”

For his part in receiving the award, Phil Keyse from Myddle Heartbeat said: “It was great to bring in a little bit of innovation. We spotted a gap in how the callout systems previously had been operating and I was acutely aware of the limitations of finances for volunteer groups in villages. I was delighted to make the contact with Ian and with his really positive response. It has been the missing link and it now has made a lot of community-based schemes possible. On our second call-out we had a volunteer on the road in fourteen seconds!”


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