John Newman, Community First Responder Programme
Director from London
‘I Joined St
John Ambulance in 1957 as a Cadet at the age of ten. I
currently direct the SJA Community First Responder programme with
London Ambulance Service which has 50 responder teams.
SJA has given me the opportunity to take on some fantastic roles
including developing the Cardiac Units for SJA in
London and the Designated Unit teams to operate with the
Metropolitan Police unit that protects the Royal Family.
An amazing highlight was the
introduction of defibrillation among our volunteers in
London. This was pioneered by Dr Tom Evans, and I managed
the project, which has led to some remarkable "saves".
As the SJA manager at Lord’s cricket ground, I observed on our
control room CCTV screen a man collapse near one of the
exit gates. We dispatched our nearby foot patrol team by
radio and we watched on the screen as they got going with
their automated external defibrillator and provided CPR.
Our advanced life support ambulance took the man to hospital and
returned to the ground.
We rarely learn if a patient has survived so imagine my elation
when the NHQ fundraising manager walked up to my desk a few
months later and asked me if I knew anything about an incident at
Lord’s. He had a lovely letter and a cheque from a man
whose life had been saved by an SJA team at Lord’s! It was
an amazing feeling to read that letter knowing that the system we
have in place for helping under such circumstances is so
effective and the volunteers so well trained that they can
save a life.’