New lifting cushion donated to help community first responders in Buckingham

Buckingham AED project lifting cushion - from left Valerie Shaw, Richard Watkins, community first responder and Lee King, AED project chairman
Buckingham AED project lifting cushion - from left Valerie Shaw, Richard Watkins, community first responder and Lee King, AED project chairman

A new lifting cushion to help community first responders in the Buckingham area has been donated by the town's AED project group.

The mangar elk lifting cushion enables a first responder, who is working alone, to safely lift a patient who has fallen to the floor without hurting themselves but cannot get back on to their feet without assistance.

It features a four section inflatable cushion, which is driven by a battery powered compressor and is capable of lifting a patient weighing up to 70 stones.

The Buckingham AED Project, set up by Geoff Shaw, himself a survivor of cardiac arrest, donated the equipment for use by responders who are trained to attend callouts as directed by South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS).

Responder Richard Watkins explained how the cushion would be used saying: “Non injury falls patients, frequently elderly people, call 999 for an ambulance to help them get up.

"Dual manned ambulances are always in high demand and are often diverted to higher priority calls, such as cardiac arrests, strokes, seizures, heart attacks and road traffic collisions, meaning a longer wait for some falls incidents.

"Experienced community first responders are being specially trained by our local ambulance service to be their “eyes on scene”, assessing a patient, taking clinical observations and seeking approval from our dedicated urgent care desk to use the mangar elk kit to safely lift the patient, who can then often stay at home instead of going to hospital.

"Also, this often saves sending a scarce ambulance which is released for urgent higher priority calls.”

In July, NHS England published “Integrated Care in Action – Urgent Care”, a report recognising the value of the SCAS pilot for using local responders to attend using mangar kits in non injury falls incidents.

The group was set up in 2014 by Geoff, who sadly died in July.

His vision was to have a public access defibrillator (also known as an AED) available in central Buckingham and installed at the community centre.

Through the group's efforts there are now 24 public access AEDs across Buckingham and in the surrounding villages.

Having completed the rollout of AEDs, the project is now pursuing a second objective of recruiting and equipping community first responders who respond to life threatening and other serious incidents whilst an ambulance is on the way from the nearest bases in Bletchley, Milton Keynes or Stoke Mandeville.

More responders are needed in the Buckingham area to continue providing this support within the community and more information on volunteering as a responder can be found on the SCAS website at