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SCAS’s  operational response to Covid-19

We thought you might be interested in learning about how SCAS is responding to Covid-19.

At the start of the pandemic SCAS immediately set up an internal system to manage our response with a cell located in Southern House which is composed of a strategic selection of staff.

We run teleconferences throughout the week and weekends to enable us to continuously review demand so that we can allocate assets to areas of pressure.

999, 111 and patient transport services (PTS) are working closely together to meet changing requirements. PTS have been very busy supporting 999 and moving patients in and out of hospitals.

Our scheduling and planning teams are working hard to ensure that we have enough staff to meet demand. Our fleet services make sure that we have as many vehicles as possible on the road and our “Make Ready” services quickly clean and restock those that have been use so that they can go out to more jobs as soon as possible after they have come in.

Mutual Aid agreement is in place across ambulance trusts. We sent ten ambulances to London to support London Ambulance Service when they were under significant pressure with Covid-19 positive patients.

We have been responsible for running the national Covid-19 National Response Service out of Rotherham, taking 111 calls from around the country. This was set up within a week at the start of the pandemic and has managed huge numbers of calls over the last few weeks.

We have had brilliant support from the military and fire services. The military sent us 80 staff to help with logistics and other activities. The fire service responders have continued to support us usual. We are gradually reducing the help needed but can access it again if we do experience another surge.

Our staff have been working closely with our partner organisations including hospitals and primary care .

Our volunteers have been working with us to support our response and we have had significant numbers of the public kindly contacting us to volunteer their help. However, we have been closely monitoring the jobs which our Community First Responders (CFRs) have been sent to ensure that they are safe. They have been issued with PPE. CFRs over the age of 70 have been stood down in line with government recommendations.

The public have been brilliant in showing their appreciation to our staff, with offers of help and kind donations of food and drink and even toilet roll as well as offers of PPE, disposable seat covers and other equipment.

We have had a great deal of media interest in what we have been doing and staff have been interviewed about their work and challenges of the current situation.

Meanwhile, our staff have been brilliant, rising to the challenge, helping each other and gong the extra mile. Corporate services such as IT, Communications, HR and others have been supporting frontline operations. 24/7 support has been sought from some of these functions and staff have worded over and above expectations to send out communications and guidance and to provide support and help. We have moved all non-essential face to face meetings to virtual meetings, including corporate meetings such as the Trust Board, Executive meetings and the Council of Governors. As many staff as possible have been working from home, if their job allows it and have been IT enabled to access work systems from home.

The Communications Team has launched a new intranet as well as a dedicated Covid-19 site to help staff access everything that they need at any time and place. We have innovated communication and engagement to provide public and members with digital resources including short films on key themes and an eBuletin to keep informed. We have been busy on social media raising awareness of important Covid-19 and other public health messages and sharing the kindness shown to staff by the public.

Demand for 999 has dropped off and we are now working with a campaign to encourage people to contact us and A&E if they need to so make sure that anyone with a severe illness, including children, don’t wait too long to receive the treatment that they need.

We will keep you posted in our monthly eBulletin on the latest news from SCAS. Also do check out our short films on what’s happening at SCAS.

If you have any questions, please contact getinvolved@scas.nhs.uk