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Villagers buy life-saving kit after crews can't find homes


A life-saving piece of kit has been officially unveiled thanks to fund-raising by villagers.

They decided to set about raising more than £3,000 for defibrillators after concerns that ambulances struggled to find some homes in Barkby and Barkby Thorpe.

One of the driving forces behind the project was retired ambulance man John Barnes.

There have been several times – the last in 2008 – when the 65-year-old has called 999 but East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) crews have not been able to find his Barkby home.

Mr Barnes, who has heart problems, said: "Over the years, I have had to call an ambulance four or five times and they have struggled to find the house because it doesn't come up on the satellite navigation system.

"I was invited to Emas headquarters, in Nottingham, and told the information on how to find the house had been recorded and stored.

"But when I made an emergency call the information wasn't flagged up.

"There must be hundreds of other places that aren't on a sat nav."

At the time, Ian Donnelly, Emas general manager for Leicestershire and Rutland, apologised and said: "The stored information was not flagged up as it should have been and for this we apologise."

He said there are about three other houses in the village with addresses that do not tally with the post code.

The Barkby Heartbeat group was formed after discussions at the Syston Jubilee Medical Practice patient group, of which Mr Barnes is chairman, and fund-raising began.

One defibrillator has been installed at the village hall.

A second is due to go up in the Molt Shovel pub and it is hoped a third will be installed in Barkby Thorpe.

One of the donations, £400, came from The Pochin School, Barkby.

Stephen Cotton, the head teacher, said: "We thought donating to the project was a really good thing to do.

"We have a lot of parents and grandparents visiting the school, as well as Parent Teacher Association events, so there are potentially hundreds of people attending events each year, some of whom might need a defibrillator."

An Emas spokesman said: "Our 999 control centre has technology to help us find patients and in our vehicles we use satellite navigation, road maps and our own knowledge to get to the right location.

"However, vital minutes can be wasted if we are not able to identify the house where the patient is because of poor, or no house numbers."

He said it helped if someone stood outside the house as the ambulance arrived or, if at night, switching on all the house lights. Michael Barnett-Connolly, Emas head of community response, said: "When it comes to cardiac arrest, seconds count and the use of a defibrillator can save a life.

"It is important community groups and organisations who have held fund-raising initiatives and bought defibrillators remembered to tell us so we can record it.

"When we receive a 999 call from the area, we can tell the caller there is a defibrillator nearby and treatment can begin while we travel to the scene."

Villagers buy life-saving kit after crews can't find homes

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