Joint firefighter and social care job proposed in Cornwall

Image caption The Fire Brigades Union has warned there is a danger of "undermining the national discussion"

Cornwall could become the first place in the country to combine the skills of an on-call firefighter with social care in one job.

The proposal, made in a report presented at Cornwall Council's Health and Wellbeing Board, is aimed at reducing loneliness and better supporting neglected people.

The potential new jobs have been described as "exciting" by councillors.

But the Fire Brigades Union warned it could undermine national discussions.

Trevor French, from the union, said: "It is a bit disappointing if a local fire and rescue service are undermining the national discussion on expanding the role of firefighters."

The role is just a proposal and subject to government approval, Cornwall Council said.

The report says many of the tasks firefighters and social workers do cross over, such as fire safety in the home, people falling and injuring themselves, the risk from poor housing structures and lack of repairs, and the effect this has on a person's well-being.

Cornwall Council's portfolio holder for environment and public protection, Rob Nolan, said he hoped the "exciting" role would encourage more people to become on-call firefighters.

Portfolio holder for adults, Rob Rotchell, said people who "self-neglect" are often reluctant to accept help but it was hoped the new role would start to overcome this, because firefighters "are traditionally people that most people trust".

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