What we do

A central support unit for NHS ambulance services

Our purpose

“We ensure the NHS ambulance service remains ready to provide the best front-line healthcare to patients during the most complex incidents. When things go badly wrong, we all need to know that our ambulance staff have the best training, kit and equipment to help save as many lives as possible.

Funded by NHS England, NARU’s role is to ensure that patients receive the high quality of care they deserve and expect by working with the ten English NHS ambulance services to ensure effective responses to high-risk and complex emergency situations.

Ensuring that our specialist ambulance responders are kept as safe as possible while doing this work is of paramount importance. These dedicated men and women are frequently willing to put their own wellbeing on the line to provide care and save the lives of others and we at NARU are extremely proud to work alongside them.”

Christian Cooper, Head of Operations, NARU

An overview of NARU

The National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) was established in 2011 as a central support unit for all UK ambulance services, to ensure the ambulance service as a whole can respond to a variety of hazardous and challenging incidents in the safest and most effective way possible.

The mandate for NARU comes from four primary sources:

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004, and its legislative requirements for specified responders, including NHS Ambulance Services, to be prepared for complex and major incidents.

The National Risk Register, which identifies the main risks or threats to the United Kingdom that emergency services, among others, should prepare to deal with effectively.

The NHS England & NHS Improvement Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) Core Standards. These include contractual obligations for the Ambulance sector.
The NARU Contract, which formally constitutes our organisation and specifies what services we need to deliver within the context of the three principal documents set out above.

Comprised of national subject matter experts, NARU’s key role is to maintain and develop the high standards expected of the NHS ambulance service’s specialist interoperable capabilities so they are  effective and  fit for purpose.

Maintaining contract standards, ensuring safe systems of work, training and equipping specialist operational staff – such as HART teams and SORT teams – from each service so that they have the right tools, knowledge and procedures to  enter challenging and hazardous situations with the confidence and ability to save lives. Undertaking all of this – while mitigating the risks to their own safety – is key to NARU’s work.

Accordingly, NARU works closely with a range of stakeholders to support the national development of EPRR related policy.  NARU also supports the development and training of command and control staff for the whole ambulance service. These commanders play vital roles in mass casualty major incidents.

NARU also develops and produces a broad range of training aids and operational publications, which are used daily by thousands of ambulance staff.

Additionally, NARU develops national resources designed to help all ambulance trusts to share best practice and learn from each other, including NARU’s bespoke PROCLUS system.

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