As June approaches and NARU completes its third full year as an organisation, the old phrase, ‘time flies’ comes to mind, and we are left to contemplate the huge progress we have made during the past three years.
Like any new body we have had some teething issues along the way. However, the feedback we are now getting consistently from our key stakeholders at NHS England, in the Department of Health, across Ambulance Trusts and within the wider NHS is that we are seen as an invaluable source of help – both practically through our training and education provision and strategically through the policy development and advice we provide on a daily basis.
The bottom line is that NARU is now really starting to cement its position as the central place to come within the ambulance service for all matters related to national emergency preparedness, resilience and response. We have become a valuable partner to other agencies across Government and the healthcare arena that have a responsibility for civil contingencies and the response to major, large scale incidents and we will continue to build on this work as we approach the years ahead.
Much of our work was on show in May at the excellent AMBITION 2014 event at Olympia in London where we had a stand at what turned out to be one of the key events in the EPRR calendar.
The idea was to show what we do to as many interested parties as possible – both in practical terms with demonstrations and in visual terms with DVDs – whilst developing useful links and taking advantage of networking opportunities along the way. Even the Home Secretary came past our stand on her way to meet the JESIP team who were based alongside us at the show.
It was a thoroughly useful and enjoyable event and we are now considering our presence at AMBITION 2015 which takes place 21-22 April 2015 in London. My advice is don’t miss it, get the date into your diaries now.
Elsewhere, we have just finalised our Annual Report for 2014 which details how NARU has delivered its agreed work plan. The work plan has been delivered on time and within budget against a backdrop of considerable change and uncertainty. However, developments have been made in many areas including, clinical, education, research, interoperability, communications and stakeholder engagement, procurement, capabilities and joint work with the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).
Our Education Centre remains as active as ever and you will see in this issue some exciting developments from them. I won’t spoil the surprise by going into detail but their determination and commitment never ceases to amaze me. After a busy time at AMBITION they immediately moved to the Fire Service College for two back-to back USAR courses which involve very long hours often outside, and on this occasion the practical sessions had to be delivered during torrential rain.
Also, following the four weeks of USAR training, they immediately started delivery of a three week IRU course which is an extremely busy course requiring dedication over and above normal requirements. Their role within NARU is an unusual role for ambulance staff and eight weeks of continuous practical training, delivering another 48 staff to Trusts is an achievement to be proud of. I remain exceptionally proud of the team, as does their manager Dave Bull QAM.
In this issue you will also find an interesting piece about our annual Resilience and Capability surveys. Why do we do them and what do they achieve? The answers are all in the article and I would be pleased to hear your feedback on this work.
Finally, here’s to a half decent summer – let’s hope the rain stays away.