The Scottish Ambulance Service is working to establish a network of first responders to tackle the worrying 999 waiting times in the Turriff area.
It comes after concerns were raised last year about the “dire” performance figures relating to the time ambulance crews took to arrive at incidents across the region.
Figures from the Scottish Ambulance Service revealed some patients were left waiting more than three times the national target response time of eight minutes from the 999 call, with the average time for a Turriff-based call-out taking 18 minutes.
In the worst cases, crews took 30 minutes to arrive at the incident.
That is much longer than the average of seven minutes in Peterhead and six minutes 50 seconds for Grampian as a whole.
At the time, North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald, who obtained the data, said the figures proved the need for Turriff to have its own dedicated 24-hour ambulance cover.
But now SAS is hoping to establish a first responders group to ease the time pressures and Mr Macdonald thinks this is “a step in the right direction”.
He said: “I am glad the Scottish Ambulance Service is taking this initiative and I would encourage people in and around Turriff to go along and find out more about being a first responder.
“AB53 postcodes get a poor service because there is no ambulance based in Turriff and I have raised these concerns a number of times, as has the staff union Unite.
“While this meeting does not solve the problem, it’s certainly a recognition that something needs to be done.”
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Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin also believes the meeting is a “great” idea.
She said: “I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested to attend the meeting to find out more .
“If just a few people can commit to becoming first responders, this would make a significant difference to those living in the area when they require urgent medical assistance.”
Peter Chapman, Scottish Conservative MSP for north-east region added that the “serious issues” were partly due to having no local ambulance station.
He said: “A new team of first responders would add to those operating nearby from places like Banff and Macduff and provide more cover and assistance for our over-stretched ambulance crews.”
Donald Montgomery, community resilience facilitator for SAS, started in his post after the original Turriff group disbanded and is keen to get a new team going.
He said: “Due to the area, and the nearest ambulances being Banff or Inverurie, it takes extra time for the paramedics to get there.
“If we’ve got people in Turriff who can get there before the ambulance, instead of people waiting 15 minutes, they can get treatment in five.
“I’m not sure why the team folded but we want to resurrect the responders group . We need a minimum of six volunteers to be able to do this.
“Responders don’t do the job of the paramedics . We won’t send you to road traffic accidents, collisions, traumas or anything like that.
“Basically the responders are there for people in cardiac arrest, with chest pains, breathing difficulties, and similar medical incidents, where they have the equipment and knowledge to help the patient until an ambulance arrives.”
No medical background is necessary to become a first responder and all training will be provided, starting with a four day course followed by monthly sessions on various ailments.
Groups also regularly teach in schools and community groups to help raise awareness of life-saving techniques.
Prospective candidates are invited to attend an information meeting in Turriff Fire Station on Wednesday April 24 at 7pm.