5 March 2020: St John Ambulance stands ready to support the NHS at any time, including during the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).  

As the nation’s ambulance auxiliary service, St John Ambulance helps the NHS by responding to some 999 calls, as well as transporting patients safely. We support the public and the health service, plus local authorities during extreme winter weather conditions, such as flooding or snow, following major accidents, or in national emergencies, and at times where additional capacity is required due to surges in demand.  

We are continuing to work with NHS England to develop contingency plans, as part of the UK response to COVID-19 and other exceptional circumstances. This builds on our day-to-day support which includes supporting ambulance services with ambulance crews, and specialist vehicles to assist with predominantly lower acuity patients. 

To date, any activity undertaken by St John people has been part of existing arrangements with individual ambulance and hospital trusts, rather than a specific spike due to COVID-19.  

Our plans are being revised constantly, but the current situation is that St John people are best placed to continue with the work we do on a daily basis, freeing up the NHS to care for COVID-19 cases. 

We have contingency plans in place for our work with the NHS, as well as within our own organisation to protect our people. 

St John has nearly 10,000 active health volunteers who provide first aid cover at around 22,000 events each year – from Premier League football matches to village fetes. In 2018 our people treated 104,000 patients. 

Public Health England are publishing daily updates to the current situation, along with guidance documents which are being reviewed for relevance to St John Ambulance services. 

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