Emergency Ambulance Service responds to new Covid lockdown

The St John Emergency Ambulance Service has taken a number of steps to protect the community, patients and staff and increase resilience in response to the new Covid-19 lockdown following the confirmation of cases of community seeding.

Chief Ambulance Officer Mark Mapp said: “The Emergency Ambulance Service acted quickly last Saturday, 23rd and reintroduce the safeguards which were in place during the last lockdown. Having been able to learn lessons from the experiences of other jurisdictions over the past few months we have updated our business continuity plans and also introduced some additional precautionary measures, such as temperature checks for our clinicians when they start each shift and a one-way system within the building to maximise social distancing.”

“As well as following the guidance from AACE (Association of Ambulance Chief Executives) and Public Health Guernsey, we have been in regular contact with colleagues in Jersey, the Isle of Man, Isle of Wight and Gibraltar throughout this crisis. This has allowed us to share experiences and adapt national guidelines to our unique island settings. We have been collaborating closely with our colleagues in HSC and other States departments at a strategic, tactical and operational level for the benefit of the community,” he added.

The buddy system which was used effectively in the last lockdown was swiftly reintroduced pairing crews for an entire block of shifts. This aims to prevent any potential spread of infection across teams, should anyone be taken ill.

Satellite stations have also been reinstated away from the main ambulance station, with a double crewed ambulance located at each venue and the remaining emergency vehicles responding from the Rohais.

The public will also notice the return of another familiar sight from the last lockdown with all clinicians wearing additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all cases. Enhanced hygiene procedures for operational crews and deep cleaning of frontline ambulances is also being carried out with the help of the St John decontamination volunteers.

In line with the guidance from Public Health Guernsey all operational and essential staff are also wearing face masks and adhering to strict policy while working at the ambulance station.

Mark Mapp added: “These are difficult times for lots of people, but islanders should feel reassured that the measures we have put in place will maximise our resilience, help protect our patients, the wider community and our ambulance teams. We have had great support from the Guernsey public and I would urge everyone to listen to, and follow the advice from Public Health and the Civil Contingencies Authority. The message is clear, stay at home if you are unwell, and contact the clinical helpline for advice.”

Meanwhile, Paramedics from the Emergency Ambulance Service are also playing important roles as part of the Community Vaccination Centre team, administering vaccinations and assisting with the monitoring of patients. Paramedics are also working with the Public Health swabbing teams and in the Emergency Department at the PEH.