St John Ambulance volunteer teams will respond to 999 calls as part of NHS deal
Steve Barclay, the health secretary, held meetings with ambulance chiefs and health officials and sought to monitor live data, fearing pressures this summer could be worse than some winters.
The four-year contract, which starts this week, formalizes the role of the charity, which has already supported the NHS during the heat wave and the Covid pandemic.
The £30million deal will see St John Ambulance provide more than 400 12-hour shifts to England’s 10 NHS ambulance trusts each month. The charity, founded in 1877, provides first aid cover at 22,000 events each year.
NHS chiefs have said the first-ever auxiliary ambulance service has been launched to “boost capacity ahead of what is expected to be another difficult winter”.
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said ambulances were under “significant pressure”, with a record 999 calls in June.
He said: ‘The new Ambulance Auxiliary Service helps to strengthen the vital role that St John Ambulance has played since the health service was established and will complement existing services, with the support of around 800 ambulance crew. emergency and 250 ambulances.
“This new deal with one of our oldest partners is a welcome addition as the NHS is doing all it can to increase capacity ahead of what is shaping up to be another tough winter.”