Off duty doctors and police officers are set to man a blue light emergency medical response service in Barnet.

London Ambulance Service Voluntary Responder Group has launched the new service after receiving £28,000 of funding from Barnet Council’s Big Society Innovation Bank.

Councillor Robert Rams handed over the keys for a fully equipped response car to members of the group on Thursday, July 12.

The Volvo V50 response car is equipped with advanced first aid and life saving equipment including a defibrillator.

A portion of the funding will also go towards training volunteers who will staff the service.

The off duty doctors and police officers will work in their spare time to provide the service on top of those provided by the London Ambulance Service (LAS).

Chris Hartley-Sharpe, LAS first responders manager, said: “When someone’s heart stops beating, every second counts in getting essential basic life support to that patient.

“Our ambulances already reach a majority of patients in a life-threatening condition in less than eight minutes, but with this additional emergency medical response alongside, seriously ill and injured patients in Barnet will be reached even faster, giving them a much greater chance of survival.”

It was one of nine projects in Barnet to successfully bid for a slice of the £200,000 on offer in the first round of applications for the Innovation Bank funding. Launched in June last year, the scheme allows people to submit bids for sums of between £500 and £50,000 to carry out community projects in the borough.

Cllr Rams said: “I’m delighted that our Big Society Innovation Bank has been able to play such a direct role in making this worthwhile service possible.

“This is a fantastic example of how some financial support, coupled with the commitment of volunteers can make a real difference to people’s lives.”