Volunteers may be asked to drive ambulances in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire to cope with winter pressures

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Volunteers could be asked to drive ambulances in the East of England, including Peterborough, to help cope with winter pressures.

The idea has been floated by the region’s ambulance service which last month was rated Inadequate by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals after inspectors found delays over the winter resulted in “a number of serious incidents”.

Ambulance news

Ambulance news

Bosses have now, according to the Health Service Journal (HSJ), said they want feedback from its community first responder (CFR) volunteers on how they could be further utilised, including driving ambulances called to a 999 emergency.

This would be when attending “low acuity patient” such as patients who have a suffered a fall and not been injured, and not on the most serious calls.

CFRs currently respond to emergency calls and provide life-saving first aid in those vital minutes before an ambulance arrives.

The HSJ said discussions were at a “very early” stage.

The East of England Ambulance Service also told the HSJ it would consider the use of the military to support staff over the winter.

But a spokesperson told the Peterborough Telegraph: “While it is well known that readiness protocols like this exist in the event of extreme circumstances, this is not at all reflective of current planning arrangements.”