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SCAS celebrates International Nurses Day

SCAS celebrates International Nurses Day

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is joining the global celebration today for International Nurses’ Day.

International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year in particular it’s an extra special occasion because not only does it fall during International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, it also marks to 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.

Ordinarily this would be a time for mass celebration and events, but as nursing staff across the world stand united in responding to the global Covid-19 pandemic, SCAS will join the public to “shine a light” from their window at 8:30p tonight to mark the day.

SCAS is fortunate to have some fantastic nurses working in both the NHS 111 and 999 emergency and urgent care services the Trust provides. Our nursing team working at the Trust’s Clinical Coordination Centre at Bicester, Oxfordshire, today took a short pause from providing care and advice over the phone to patients who had called NHS 111.

Fittingly, on the 200th  anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, between them, the team has over 200 years’ nursing experience.

Sian Gaul – Clinical Shift Manager – 111

Sian qualified as a nurse in 1989 and worked in hospitals in London and Surrey, looking after patients in A&E, coronary care, cardiac rehabilitation and high dependency units. She joined NHS Direct in 2001 and transferred to SCAS in 2010, initially working on the Trust’s Clinical Service Desk in the 999 service before moving to help start the NHS 111 service in 2012.

“I’ve loved watching 111 develop from a very small team to a large team covering the whole of the SCAS patch, and beyond with Covid-19. I love the people I work with; it is a really diverse team and we’re all united in doing the best for our patients. Covid-19 has been an immense challenge with the volume of calls we have been receiving, but everyone has stepped up to the challenge. SCAS helped provide the national Covid Response Service so we were taking calls from all over the country. I am so proud of our team and how we have dealt with the incredible challenges over the last few months.”

Sophie Groves – Shift Manager – 111

Sophie qualified as a nurse in 1988 and has 35 years’ nursing experience. She has worked in many hospitals and health units across the UK from the Isle of Wight to Leicester with specialisms in head and neck, primary care and trauma/orthopaedics. She joined SCAS in 1999 initially on the Clinical Support Desk for the Trust’s 999 service, and moved to the NHS 111 team in 2012 as a Clinical Shift Manager.

“When I joined NHS 111, SCAS just provided the service for Oxfordshire and today we cover the whole of the Thames Valley and Hampshire, as well as parts of Dorset for dental care. The 111 Team has been amazing in stepping up to the Covid-19 challenge, providing the national Covid line service as well as our normal workload, adapting and managing a situation that has changed daily and sometimes hourly.”

Laura Wordley – 111 Clinician

Laura qualified in 2002 as a general medical nurse, specialising in cardiac and respiratory conditions. She spent most of her career to date working in hospitals, but had over recent years wanted to move out from a hospital setting to somewhere where she could help patients stay at home and out of hospital where possible.

“Joining SCAS one year ago has enabled me to do this and I love it. Working as a 111 clinician, you get such a variety of calls; I feel that I am using all my nursing knowledge and experience to help the patients who call the service. The last few months have been challenging and at times stressful, but I feel that everyone in the 111 team – call handlers, clinicians, team leaders, shift managers and housekeeping – has risen to the challenge and managed it well.”

Treasa Michael – Clinical Shift Manager – 111

Treasa has 18 years’ nursing experience and worked at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, before joining SCAS in 2017, initially as a clinical advisor and now as an acting clinical shift manager.

“Nurses are playing a vital role in managing the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a stressful and challenging time for nurses everywhere and we must remember today many of our colleagues who have lost their lives in the battle against Covid-19. On International Nurses Day I hope my colleagues across the world stay safe.”

Claire Davis – 111 Clinician

Clare qualified in 1992 and worked as a renal nurse for her first year, before retraining as a midwife. After 14 years midwifery nursing, she joined NHS Direct in for five years before transferring to SCAS in 2012.

Chloe Lumley – 111 Clinician

Chloe left school at 18 and immediately went into training to be a nurse, qualifying in 2004 as a paediatric nurse predominantly in critical care. Whilst training in Nottingham she met and later married her husband, and they are about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary.

“Pursuing nursing as a career is integral to my path in life, having met my husband and made lifelong friends along the journey. I am humbled by my frontline colleagues in this time of pandemic – you do an amazing job – and I’m also proud to be part of an incredible team that has met the Covid-19 challenge head on and provided such good reassurance and advice to patients calling 111 in these uncertain times.”

Kudzai Chigogora – 111 Clinician

Kudzai has 17 years nursing experience, working at hospitals in London within A&E, general surgery and general medicine departments, as well as an infection control and prevention nurse. She joined SCAS in 2016 and has worked in our 999 service as well as now as a clinician on our NHS 111 service.

Warren Talbot – 111 Clinician

Warren qualified as a nurse in 2009 and is now dual qualified as a paramedic. He has over 20 years NHS experience, starting his career as a ward assistant at the Radcliffe Infirmary, working his way up to his current role as a Specialist Paramedic in Urgent Care.

“We are lucky at SCAS to have the Specialist Nurse in Urgent Care role that provides a wealth of knowledge from nurses with many different nursing backgrounds. In my Specialist role, I rotate around responding to patients who’ve called 999, GP visits, 111 as well as working at the Chipping Norton First Aid Unit. Nursing skills have always been valuable in providing care for urgent and emergency patients, and it’s been lovely working in 111; the nursing team here are amazing people to work with! Happy International Nursing Day everyone!”

Joss Chigubu – Senior Clinical Advisor, 111

Joss qualified as a registered general nurse and has 20 years’ experience. She began her nursing career at Milton Keynes Hospital, working in A&E, medicine and surgery, with a specialism in head and neck/EMT. After working at NHS Direct as a senior clinical advisor, she was then involved in the establishment and implementation of the NHS 111 service, and joined SCAS in 2014.

 “As a senior clinical advisor, clinical navigator and clinical coach at SCAS, I have seen firsthand how challenging, but rewarding, it has been to help manage the NHS response to Covid-19. The team has been fantastic, liaising with Public Health England and other national organisations to ensure we keep our staff up-to-date with the changing situation and ensure their welfare too.”

 Theresa Mapolisa – Nurse Advisor, 111

Theresa qualified as a nurse in 2005 and initially worked in surgical and orthopaedic hospital wards. She has been a nurse advisor for the last eight years and has spent the last few challenging months educating, assessing and informing some very anxious and unwell patients who have called 111 with coronavirus symptoms and concern, as well as ensuring that patients calling 111 for non Covid-19 reasons, especially those who had serious illnesses, still received the right assessment, advice and treatment they needed too.


New online NHS site is first and best port of call for help with coronavirus symptoms

New online NHS site is first and best port of call for help with coronavirus symptoms

Top clinicians are issuing advice to help reduce the spread of infection as the country moves into the ‘delay’ phase of its response to Covid-19.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday (12 March), people worried about symptoms are being told by the chief medical officer not to call NHS 111 to try to book a test, as Public Health England have recommended an end to routinely testing for coronavirus in this next phase of the epidemic.

Instead, anyone worried about having the virus should self-isolate, without calling or checking with NHS 111 first.

Travel and contact history are no longer important for diagnosis, which will now be made on the basis of symptoms: a new continuous cough or high temperature.

The NHS is urging people to visit a new online advice hub at as the go-to place for clear advice for people with early symptoms of coronavirus.

The new web page details the latest guidance for anyone experiencing these possible early signs of coronavirus, and people should use this page as their first port of call if they are experiencing symptoms.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS, said: “Everyone who has symptoms including a new continuous cough or high temperature should now stay at home and self-isolate, without needing to call or checking with NHS 111. As recommended by the chief medical officer, routine testing will now stop as it is unnecessary for those staying at home.

“As the chief medical officer also warned yesterday, calling NHS 111 routinely can put extra pressure on the NHS and could even make it harder for people with life-threatening conditions to get the help they need.

“The alternative option is expert and convenient advice online at which is the best port of call for help with coronavirus.

“For anyone who needs to stay at home and get better, they should continue to follow our advice and practice good hygiene, especially washing your hands more often and for longer, which will keep you and your family safe.”

Anyone who has either a new continuous cough or high temperature should follow this advice:

  • Stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
  • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
  • Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
  • Sleep alone, if that is possible.
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
  • Remain at home until 7 days after the onset of symptoms. After 7 days, if you feel better and no longer have a fever, you can return to your normal routine.
  • If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days use NHS 111 online or call NHS 111; for a medical emergency dial 999.
  • A cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough along does not mean people must continue to self isolate for more than 7 days.

This advice will continue to be reviewed and updated by experts, and the public can access the most up to date information at

Public Hearts Scheme launched across the Thames Valley

Public Hearts Scheme launched across the Thames Valley

South Central Ambulance Service is supporting the Public Hearts Scheme, which fittingly launched in Reading on Valentine’s Day (14 February).

The Public Hearts Scheme, which aims to increase the public’s access to life saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs), was set up in 2017 by PC Matt Hammond at Gloucestershire Constabulary, and is expanding across the Thames Valley area.

The scheme is a partnership between the local licensed venues, South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) and Thames Valley Police. Licensed venues from across Thames Valley can sign up to receive a collection pot to help raise funds to go towards purchasing an AED for their premises, which currently costs around £800. Money raised beyond this amount will then go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the devices.

Reading’s Business Improvement District (BID) has funded the first 11 defibrillators for Reading town centre.

As first responders to emergencies across the Thames Valley, our frontline ambulance staff, community first responders and Thames Valley Police Officers understand the importance of having access to an AED, particularly in the evenings when many community venues that house them may be closed. By being housed in licensed premises, these can be used by members of the public as well as the emergency services. AEDs are designed to be easy to use by members of the public, and you don’t need any training to be able to use them.

David Hamer, Operations Manager – Community Engagement & Training at SCAS said: “Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of premature death; the earlier there is intervention by someone to start basic life support and apply an AED the better chance of a positive outcome for the victim.

“AEDs are simple machines that are easy to use. The user will be instructed what to do by the machine, so no formal training is required. They have been used by many untrained members of the public with lives being saved as a result. Never be afraid to use this lifesaving piece of equipment if you need to.”

Within the Thames Valley the scheme is being led by Licensing Officer Sergeant Larah Fisher from Thames Valley Police: “After meeting with Matt Hammond from Gloucestershire Constabulary and hearing about the success of the scheme there, I knew it would be something that we could support in the Thames Valley.

“We contacted licensed venues across the force and everyone has been really keen to get the scheme running in their areas. It’s great to see the community coming together to fund the purchase of these devices. They are there for anyone who is unlucky enough to find themselves in a situation when it could be used to save a life.”

Public Hearts officially launched in Reading on Valentine’s Day, with some venues across the town holding fundraising events to support towards the installation of more defibrillators around Reading.

Business Improvement District Manager in Reading, Bobby Lonergan, said: “Reading Central Business Improvement District is pleased to fund this life saving equipment which will be on hand at 11 licensed venues around town, ensuring the defibrillators are not just available during the daytime but also in the evenings and into the early hours.”

Any venues who are interested in being part of the scheme across the Thames Valley, please get in touch with your local licencing officer.


Coronavirus: Stakeholder Briefing – Thursday, 13 February

On Wednesday 12 February, guests of Kents Hill Park Hotel were given the results of the swab tests that were undertaken on their arrival and all swab results were negative. This indicates that it is unlikely that any of the guests have coronavirus.

All guests will need to have further swab tests after six and 12 days of their stay at the facility to confirm that they remain negative for coronavirus.

Each of the guests have been given their individual test results and further information about how they can move around the hotel.

Following the cascade of this information, NHS and Public Health England staff met with the guests to discuss their results, the new guidance on how they can move around the hotel and to address any questions or concerns they may have.

Guests are continuing to take all the precautionary measures they were previously and staff at the facility are continuing to take full infection prevention measures.

Both local and national NHS organisations, Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care would like to thank guests for their ongoing cooperation and the local community of Milton Keynes, who have been offering support and well wishes to our guests.

Information for the Public

Coronavirus presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.

If you have travelled from China, or Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau to the UK in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, you should:

    • immediately self-isolate, even if symptoms are minor and call NHS111
    • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu

Stay informed of the latest public health advice by regularly checking this link which is updated daily:

Coronavirus: Stakeholder Briefing – Sunday, 9 February, 2020

Approximately 118 people returning from Wuhan in China have arrived at Kents Hill Park in Milton Keynes where they will stay for the next 14 days.

Men, women and children arrived at the 300-bed hotel facility at 10.15am on Sunday, February 9, in eight coaches. All guests underwent additional health screening immediately on arrival. Additional clothing, toiletries, children’s toys, nappies and other comfort items were made available for all guests. Each guest (or couple/ family group) have been allocated two rooms (one as a bedroom and one as lounge/ kitchen), where they will remain in isolation for the next 48 hours. Fridges and microwaves are available in every room, along with food and drinks.

Staff from a number of different health and social care agencies, including Milton Keynes University Hospital, NHS England, South Central Ambulance Service, Milton Keynes CCG, and Public Health England; as well Milton Keynes Council, are providing on-site support for guests at the facility.

All guests and staff are adhering to strict infection and prevention control protocols, including wearing masks and gloves. Staff in close contact with guests, or performing clinical assessments, are wearing full personal protective equipment.

Access to the hotel facility is strictly regulated and staff leaving the facility undertake appropriate decontamination. As guests remain in isolation – as a precautionary measure – and with controls on access and rigorous infection prevention and control measures in place, there is no risk to the wider public.

The presence of this group in Milton Keynes does not present any risk to local people – businesses and schools on the Kents Hill Park estate will continue to open as normal. No additional safeguards are required for members of the public.

The process of repatriation has been led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, and the support of the Department of Health and Social Care, the NHS and Public Health England.

The UK is well prepared for these types of incidents and there is rapid and effective testing undertaken by PHE available for this virus. The NHS has expert teams of highly-trained staff and specialist hospital units around the country ready to receive and care for any patients with any highly infectious disease. The NHS adheres to the highest safety standards for the protection of its staff, patients and the public.

Based on current evidence, Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.

There is more information and advice on Novel Coronavirus on the Government’s website at

The Multi-agency response team will be regularly updating this briefing for partners.

Frequently asked questions

Are staff entering the facility where the groups are being kept required to wear full PPE?

Staff entering the facility are taking appropriate infection prevention and control precautions including wearing appropriate PPE.

The people who drove the buses that transported the group were not wearing PPE – does this pose a risk to the wider community?

Seating arrangements ensured that the drivers were not in close contact with the passengers on the journey, which meant they were not at risk and did not require PPE. Close contact means being within two metres of an infected person for at least fifteen minutes. The measures we put in place to address this were to block off five rows at the front and boarding the drivers last. The drivers do not pose a risk to public health as a result of driving these passengers to their accommodation and should go about their daily lives as normal.

If NHS staff need to enter the site, will they be provided with full PPE?

Staff entering the facility are taking appropriate infection prevention and control precautions including wearing appropriate PPE provided by the facility.

Are those who have been repatriated being assessed daily by a medical team?

There is an onsite clinical team and checks are being made daily on all those in the facility.

Is the site being regularly cleaned to help stop the spread of infection?

Appropriate cleaning is being undertaken onsite.

Why was this site chosen?

The local site has been chosen because it offers appropriate accommodation and other facilities for those coming back from Wuhan while they stay in Milton Keynes. It also allows the health of those in the group to be regularly monitored and has the necessary medical facilities close at hand should they be required.

There are schools in the area, do these people pose a risk?

This group being repatriated will be kept in isolation on the site and so they pose no risk to the wider community, including any school children.

If they test negative, will they be allowed to leave?

As the incubation period is 14 days, people may still develop the virus even after an initial test. They will therefore be asked to remain at the facility until day 14.

What will happen if they test positive?

If a result does come back positive they will be isolated appropriately and receive the necessary specialist care within the NHS.