CAMPAIGNERS fear a community ambulance service could fold after the number of people staffing it fell from 17 to 6.

For 48 years the Alston Ambulance, based at the community hospital, has been staffed by emergency medical technicians, who are not qualified paramedics - and fulfil the role around other jobs.

The facility forms part of the North West Ambulance Service.

Technicians treat and stabilise patients until paramedics arrive from Carlisle or Penrith.

At a meeting of Alston Moor Parish Council last month councillors heard how the North West Ambulance Service said it was looking at training community first responders in a bid to beef up staffing.

In response councillor Elaine Grew said residents were concerned they were unable to attend maternity cases or any involving children, mental illness or road traffic collisions.

Consultant paramedic Matt House however said the service was looking at improving the responsibilities of community first responders to allow them to attend incidents and work alongside technicians.

The meeting also heard that health chiefs had no plans to remove the Alston service.