The COVID-19 global pandemic has significantly affected the entire population and has presented NARU with some of its greatest challenges to date.
The COVID-19 emergency has tested the NHS ambulance service’s preparedness, response and resilience. NARU has been at the forefront of supporting frontline NHS ambulance care throughout this challenge.
Specifically, NARU staff have supported the NHS in the following ways:
- Managed the National Ambulance Coordination Centre (NACC) – based at West Midlands Ambulance Service’s HQ in Brierley Hill, Dudley – on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement.
- Supported the establishment of the Nightingale Hospitals, managing the design and implementation of the ambulance logistics required for these unique structures.
- Directly supported specialist ambulance teams to deliver effective care to high risk COVID-19 patients, including safe transportation to and from specialist hospitals.
- NARU has also been instrumental in maintaining critical ambulance capabilities throughout this period of significant disruption.
Another major piece of work undertaken by NARU has centred around mitigating the challenges that NHS ambulance services have faced during the pandemic to maintain their contractual obligations to continue to deliver high quality interoperable capabilities. This has involved NARU addressing all 164 of the contractual standards contained within the NHSE Core Standards for Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) that regulate each of the interoperable capabilities that must be delivered by each ambulance service in England.
Christian Cooper, NARU Head of Quality & Improvement says:
The idea was to find ways to safely adapt and modify the national contract standards to maintain legal obligations and quality while giving trusts enough flexibility to meet their local COVID-19 challenges too.
NARU National Director Keith Prior says:
The ambulance service will recover from the impact of COVID-19 and NARU will continue to play its full part in the wider NHS recovery, to ensure we are even better prepared for similar events in the future.
Whilst the definition of COVID19 was downgraded from being classed as a ‘High Consequence Infectious Disease’ (HCID) it shares many features with other high-risk diseases, something that has allowed us to further develop the Ambulance HCID capability, part of the nationally interoperable capabilities coordinated by NARU.
The NHS response has saved an unprecedented number of lives but, tragically, many people have passed away as a result of COVID-19. The NARU workforce offers its sincere condolences to all those who have suffered the loss of loved ones.