We were delighted to welcome representatives from St John Western Australia to the island this week.
The group spent time with operational staff in Guernsey to observe the work of the St John Emergency Ambulance Service and had a tour of the marine ambulance, the Flying Christine III. The managers, clinicians and volunteers also met with the Chief Officer the St John Emergency Ambulance Service, Ali Marquis.
Mrs Marquis said, “We were delighted to welcome members of St John Western Australia to Guernsey and have the opportunity to show them how we operate here. It was a good chance to learn more about the way they do things in Australia. Although the scale of their operation is much bigger than ours it has been interesting to see what we can learn from each other. The visit is very timely given that we have just signed a new ten year contract with the Health & Social Care Committee to provide the ambulance service to the island and we are planning to develop our staff and services to meet the changing needs of the community.”
The two day visit also included meetings with the volunteers and senior staff from St John Guernsey and members of the Commandery of St John Guernsey. The Australian contingent also got to see a display and demonstration of the work of the volunteers locally.
Other events included watching “Licence to Kill” presentation to school students at the Performing Arts Centre in St Peter Port and to visit the Joint Emergency Services Control Room (JESSC). The visit to Guernsey was part of a wider tour of the UK, Europe and America.
Julian Smith, General Manager of the Country Ambulance in Western Australia said “The history of St John is awe-inspiring and it is interesting to see how different countries have embraced that. Even though Guernsey is a much smaller area, there are similarities. We have similar issues, use similar vehicles and similar equipment.”
Mr Smith added “Part of our fabric is collaborating and bringing everyone together – the volunteers in the Country locations and the paramedics in the Metropolitan areas. In Guernsey there is the Emergency Ambulance Service and the volunteers – and they each need each other.” St John Ambulance Western Australia operates the emergency ambulance service for Perth and the surrounding areas with a combination of full time staff on the Metro Ambulances and volunteers on the Country Ambulance. The region covers about the same size as Western Europe, so although things are on a very different scale, the Australian charity has some similarities to St John in Guernsey, including a Community First Responder scheme, Event Medical Services and a Patient Transport Service. In addition to these St John also provides Primary Care, Urgent Care and Dental Care in Western Australia.