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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 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 13 April.
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, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should not attend your course, please contact customer services to transfer your course to a later date.
Guidance from 13 April 2022
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should not attend your training course, please contact customer services to transfer your course to a later date.
- You are encouraged to wear a face covering when attending training venues, free disposable face masks are available at our venues.
- We will continue to train the practical elements of courses safely, asking delegates to wear suitable PPE when working in close proximity with other delegates or staff.
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:
In order to safeguard everyone on our courses, if a delegate has COVID-19 symptoms, they should not attend their training course.
We maintain an element of social distancing during training, but delegates will work in groups on practical exercises at which time PPE will be encouraged. Gloves and face coverings will be available for delegate use.
There is hand sanitisation available and regular hand-washing protocols in place.
We maintain our rigorous manikin cleaning protocols.
Our rooms are well ventilated, and we advise delegates attend in warm clothing (we suggest lots of layers that can be added or removed).
We regularly review our face covering rules. Click here to view our latest face covering guidance.
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.
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.