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What we're doing
St John Ambulance’s aim is to support the healthcare of the nation, so the safety and wellbeing of everyone is our paramount concern. We constantly monitor government advice and in line with the Government road map are making staged changes to working safely with COVID-19 measures to determine the number of places available on each of our courses. See below for important changes to requirements for courses running from 9 December.
We are following Resuscitation Council UK guidance to omit the practical demonstration of rescue breaths from our first aid training courses - find out more.
We will be keeping our training venues well ventilated by having windows open. We advise delegates attend in warm clothing (we suggest lots of layers that can be added or removed).
In order to safeguard everyone on our courses, delegates are strongly encouraged to take part in the national lateral flow testing (LFT) scheme and do a test 24 hours prior to attending a training course. If you test positive you must not attend your training course, please contact customer services to transfer your course to a later date free of charge (maximum of 2 free transfers).
Face coverings in St John venues and on our in-company courses
Regulations from 9 December
From 9 December we will be maintaining a 1m+ social distance between delegates attending our training courses:
- All delegates are strongly encouraged to take part in the national lateral flow testing (LFT) scheme and do a test 24 hours prior to attending a training course
- All delegates are required to wear a face covering, at all times, when attending training venues, unless medically exempt
- We will continue to train practical elements of courses using non-contact methods, along with numerous cleanliness, ventilation and other safeguards.
Please note that a face visor is not a face covering. A face covering must fully cover the mouth and nose. We have face masks (which are a medical grade face covering) available free for all delegates in our venues.
We will continue to review and update our measures in line with the latest government guidance.
Our safety measures
We are implementing the following measures to keep your delegates and our employees safe:
If a delegate has any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. new persistent cough, high temperature, loss or change to sense of smell or taste) they must not attend training and we strongly recommend they take a PCR test. We will provide a free transfer to a future course (maximum of 2 free transfers per delegate).
We are implementing social distancing measures (1+ metre rule) between everyone at all times during the course and require the same of delegates during breaks. To do this we have reduced class sizes dependent on the size of the room.
There is hand sanitisation available and regular hand-washing protocols in place.
We maintain our rigorous manikin cleaning protocols.
We have altered our training practical lessons so that trainers and delegates don’t need to come into direct contact with each other and can remain socially distanced.
We will continue to provide gloves for relevant practical sessions.
We regularly review our face covering rules. Click here to view our latest face covering guidance.
We will provide all delegates with free disposable face masks at our venues. A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
In order to safeguard everyone on our courses, we are encouraging delegates to take part in the national lateral flow testing (LFT) scheme and do a test 24 hours prior to attending a training course. If a delegate tests positive, they will not attend their training course. They will be able to contact customer services to transfer their course to a later date free of charge (maximum of 2 free transfers).
Practical demonstration and assessment of rescue breaths while COVID transmission remains high
In response to the increased prevalence of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and the increased transmission of the new variants, St John Ambulance along with the First Aid Quality Partnership and Health Safety Executive, support the position of Resuscitation Council UK that practical demonstration of rescue breaths may be omitted from first aid training courses, as a precautionary measure while COVID transmission rates remain high.
This means that for our adult first aid courses delegates will temporarily not demonstrate rescue breaths during their CPR assessment. This will not affect the validity or duration of your certification.
There is good evidence that rescue breaths form an essential part of CPR in children and infants. The benefits of teaching rescue breaths to those who have a duty to provide first aid to these groups far outweighs the extremely small theoretical risk of transmission in the classroom whilst practising this skill. For this reason, rescue breaths will continue to be taught on paediatric first aid courses.
NHS Test & Trace at St John venues
To protect our communities we participate in the NHS Test and Trace system in our venues. This is in addition to the self-check-in QR codes provided at our venues for use with the NHS App.
How will this work?
If anyone who visits our venues returns a positive test for coronavirus and we are contacted by a representative from NHS Test and Trace, in the interests of public health we will provide the representative with the contact details of the booker for any delegates on the relevant training course.
The Test and Trace representative will contact you to advise you on the best course of action in relation to your delegates.
We will only give out information where we are sure the request is a genuine NHS Test and Trace request.
For more information on how Test and Trace works, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works
Our venues and risk assessments
Every venue we open is subject to a rigorous Risk Assessment and formal Safe System of Work. These are different depending on the layout and use of the building, albeit with some common themes such as one-way systems or specific entrance/exit for different users of the building, hand-washing regimes, sanitiser stations, floor coverings/mats, guidance posters and floor markings, cleaning regimes for equipment used, revised training protocols to avoid touching, and so on.
In each and every case, the Risk Assessment and Safe System of Work is thoroughly assessed by our national Health and Safety Manager and our Medical Director – who is an expert in the field and is a Consultant Physician, supported by a Clinical team which includes, for example, an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Nurse Consultant who also works in the NHS Trust Infection Control Service.
The principles being adopted are in line with Government and Public Health England guidelines. What that means is that we are adopting all sorts of measures to keep our staff and our customers safe. What it doesn’t mean is that we are removing every element of potential risk, as there is no scenario which is completely risk-free. Therefore, whilst we do have cleaning regimes, remind people to wash their hands regularly, conduct a thorough clean of the venue daily and clean frequent touchpoints throughout the day, we cannot mitigate every possible risk. However, we will provide gloves for practical sessions where we would have done so normally during training and will provide each delegate with two disposable face masks which they are welcome to wear if they feel more comfortable doing so. Managing the use of toilets can be a challenge, but there are processes in place for every venue, such as limiting numbers in at any one time and encouraging people to take loo-breaks throughout the day rather than all going at once to avoid queuing.
Similarly, there is some reliance on common-sense adoption of requirements and guidelines – for example, we do not mark out smoking areas to show people where to stand, as they can adopt a 2m distance in the same way they have to elsewhere. Also, recognising that we are training adults, people need to cooperate with the guidance but also self-manage – such as if someone comes to stand too close, then they should ask them to step back or they themselves should move away.