Community First Responder scoops Community Health Worker of the Year Award
30th September 2013
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Janet Oaten, Resilience Coordinator at the Trust and a Responder in Dolton, North Devon, went home with the Community Health Worker of the Year Award during an awards ceremony held in North Devon recently.

Janet, along with her husband Richard, has been responding in Dolton since early 2008, after moving to the village in 2006.

“I met my husband 24-years ago through a first aid course that we attended,” said Janet.

“When we moved down to Devon we both wanted to do something to help the community that we had moved in to. We carried out our initial responder training in November 2007 and then we were on the road in January 2008.

“We cover a three-mile radius around Dolton, including the local surrounding villages.”

The awards ceremony was hosted by the North Devon Journal and took place at the High Bullen Hotel on Friday, September 13th.

Three people were shortlisted in each category and Janet faced stiff competition for her award including from a nurse who had raised more than £10,000 and had run more than ten marathons.

Janet said: “I didn’t know anything about the awards ceremony and then I got a call saying that I had been nominated. People in the community nominated me but I didn’t really know who.

“The awards ceremony was just like you would see on TV with lots of glitz and glamour. I was up against a nurse who had raised £10,000 for her patients and a surgeon who was also totally dedicated to his patients so I didn’t really expect to win anything.

“When they called out my name and said I had won I was absolutely gobsmacked. I was shaking, I just couldn’t believe it. I still don’t think it has sunk in now.

“Being a Responder is completely voluntary, I don’t get paid for the time when I am booked on, but this doesn’t matter to me. We are such a close community in Dolton and when people found out I had won the award they were hugging me in the street and it was brilliant.”

Recalling some of the jobs that the responding team have been called to in Dolton and the surrounding area Janet said: “We like to do what we can in the community and I really enjoy it. You can’t save everyone but when a cardiac arrest is successful that is the positive side of things.

“A lot of the incidents that we get called out to are to elderly people who have maybe had a cardiac arrest or stroke and need treatment fast. Sometimes all people need is a helping hand or a little bit of TLC. If I know someone has been in hospital and then they have returned home I will go and check on them and make sure they are doing OK.

“But it is not just me, the whole community will rally round and help and I plan to respond for as long as possible.”

The newly crowned Community Health Worker of the Year added: “I would really like to thank everyone who voted for me. I can’t believe it has all happened to me. Dolton is such a brilliant community.”

Rob Horton, Community Responder Manager at SWASFT, added: “Congratulations to Janet and the Dolton group of Responders. I am glad that all their hard work and dedication has been recognised with this award.

“All our Responder groups provide an excellent resource in their communities providing vital emergency aid for people in need and help the Trust to respond with the right care, in the right place and at the right time.”

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