St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading health and first aid charity, has been supporting the NHS throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in many ways, including providing ambulances and trained volunteers during this health emergency.
St John has ramped up its operations to meet the demands of the NHS and communities in the charity’s biggest deployment during peacetime.
With more than 8,500 active health volunteers and an 800-strong fleet, the organisation has cared for patients by providing over 40,000 hours of ambulance support for the eight of the ambulance trusts across England, since the start of April 2020.
Those hours have been delivered predominantly by volunteers who have quickly been upskilled; everyone on the frontline of the pandemic has received additional St John Ambulance COVID-19 training which the charity developed at pace, in line with Government recommendations and clinical expertise from NHS England.
The clinical skills, resilience and compassion of St John volunteers really matter in an emergency like this, to benefit patients and support colleagues in the NHS.
As well as upskilling their existing volunteers, the organisation has seen over 1,000 applications to join and has worked with airlines on a volunteering onboarding scheme which has seen furloughed TUI and British Airways staff become St John volunteers.
Since April 1, St John Ambulance crews have been deployed from the charity’s 31 ambulance hubs across England more than 3,300 times.
Those ambulances have dealt with over 9,200 calls and provide additional capacity for the NHS to answer calls quicker. St John’s support is not just in terms of responding to calls but also freeing up capacity in the health service.
And St John Ambulance’s vehicles and volunteers wouldn’t be on the road without vital logistics and behind the scenes support. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, St John Ambulance has transformed its day-to-day operations to focus on helping tackle the virus.
In response to this national emergency, St John Ambulance established a Joint Operations Coordination Cell in London, along with Regional Operations Coordination Cells in Bristol, London, Stevenage and Ossett, running seven days a week to support the charity’s frontline operations.
In total (as of early July) St John volunteers have delivered over 130,000 hours of patient care during the pandemic.
St John Ambulance is facing extraordinary demands; its resources are stretched, and people are being tested but they will stop at nothing to help beat this virus. To find out more about the charity, including details of its emergency fundraising appeal visit www.sja.org.uk