Overwhelming Response To Call For Support

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More than 1,500 members of the public stepped forward in just 24 hours to respond to a call for volunteers and temporary roles with the Welsh Ambulance Service as it manages its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Individuals from across Wales, including past and retired staff, have registered their interest in a variety of roles across the service following an appeal by the Trust last week.

Applications are now closed and the sifting process has begun.

Claire Vaughan, the Trust’s Executive Director of Workforce and Organisational Development, said: “We are absolutely delighted by the response we received to our online appeal.

“This fantastic response will help us to boost capacity within our workforce during this most challenging of times.’

“Our workforce team is working really hard to sift the applications, skill-matching, seeking relevant checks and pairing them geographically to our needs – and so we ask for everyone’s patience now as this work is done.’

“We sincerely thank everyone who put themselves forward in this most testing of times, and will seek to contact them soon with an update in response to their kind offer.”

Approximately 8,000 People Sampled In One Day By MDA: 4,000 Via “Drive Thru” Testing

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Many thousands of corona virus samples were performed by MDA teams across the country on Tuesday.

Alongside the ongoing testing at homes, about 4,000 people arrived at Magen David Adom’s and the Ministry of Health’s complexes.

It is estimated that by midnight, the number of samplers across the country will reach about 8,000 in total.

At the “Drive Throu” complex in Tel Aviv, which will be open throughout the night, 1,200 people were sampled to this time, in Jerusalem 791, in Haifa 822, and in Be’er Sheba, samples were taken today from 567 people in total.

At the same time, Magen David Adom’s and the Ministry of Health’s mobile complexes, which reached Bnei Brak, sampled 250 people, with the complex continuing to operate until midnight, and tomorrow throughout the day. 

In the mobile complex that reached Tamra, 261 people were sampled, and in the mobile complex that reached Modi’in, dozens of people were sampled by this time, and more are expected to arrive in the coming hours.

MDA emphasizes that anyone who has symptoms, and is able to arrive in his own in a private vehicle to be tested at the “Drive Throu” complex, is asked to do so after receiving MDA approval, to allow MDA teams to reach the homes of people unable to reach the complexes as quickly as possible.

MDA Director General, Eli Bin: “Thousands of corona tests are performed every day across the country, with more and more citizens sampling at Magen David Adom’s “Drive Throu” complexes.’

“This allows for an increase in the number of tests performed in Israel, I call anyone who has symptoms during the isolation to contact 101 Hotline, and make an appointment to take a sample in the area close to his home.’

“MDA EMTs and paramedics also continue to take samples in the homes of citizens who are unable to reach the “Drive Throu” complexes on their own.”

Welsh Ambulance Service’s Plea For Public’s Honesty During Covid-19 Outbreak

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The Welsh Ambulance Service is urging the public to be honest about the nature of their illness when calling 111 or 999 for help.

It has become apparent that some members of the public have been withholding information about their illness during the Covid-19 outbreak for fear of not being sent an ambulance, according to feedback from Trust staff.

This means crews have been attending some incidents without the necessary protective equipment, exposing them to potential harm.

The service is asking the public to be open and transparent about the nature of their call and their symptoms so it can signpost patients to the most appropriate care and safeguard its crews from contracting the virus.

In a video message to the public shared on social media, Lee Brooks, the Trust’s Director of Operations, said: “Right across our organisation, staff are working tirelessly to ensure we can continue to provide you the best possible care as we respond to Covid-19.’

“This is unchartered territory for our generation but our plans continue to develop as we work with our partners to ensure that we deliver care as safely and effectively as possible.’

“I have a plea for the wider public at this time. Our teams operating in your community are reporting that they arrive at the scene of an incident, possibly at your home, to discover that callers have withheld information about their symptoms.’

“Some of you have told us that you were concerned that, had you been honest, an ambulance would not have been sent. We understand your concerns but I want to make a couple of things clear.’

Firstly, we will always send an ambulance where it is warranted, but this means relying on what our call handlers are told at the point that you call us.’

“If you don’t give us accurate information, you risk the welfare of the people whose job it is to care for us all.’

“This is incredibly unfair on our staff, as it means that their right to enter your home prepared has been removed. Personal protective equipment is worn by our staff to protect them from contracting the disease.’

“I must ask everyone who calls either 111 or 999 to be honest with us about what’s wrong with you and allow us to signpost you to the right care. 

“These are difficult times for us all, but please don’t put our staff in harm’s way when they just don’t need to be.”

Lee added:  “Please heed the official advice from government and Stay At Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.”

London Ambulance Service & London Fire Brigade Announce Blue Light Partnership To Tackle Covid-19

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London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade have announced a new partnership to boost the Covid-19 emergency response which will see firefighters helping with a number of roles across the ambulance service.

Under the new agreement, up to 300 staff from London Fire Brigade (LFB) could drive ambulances and assist paramedics as directed.

The new plan, announced today Wednesday 1 April, follows a national agreement last week between the National Employers, National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Brigades Union to support local authorities and the NHS, including ambulance services.

Garrett Emmerson, CEO,
LAS

Chief executive of London Ambulance Service, Garrett Emmerson said: “We have a fantastic ongoing relationship with London Fire Brigade and regularly collaborate closely in a number of ways — whether that be co-responding to road traffic collisions and house fires, or our medics training fire crews to administer CPR and a use a defibrillator if they are first on scene at a cardiac arrest.’

“This new agreement with LFB comes at a time when we and the rest of the NHS are facing the biggest public health challenge in our history.’

“We are already dealing with unprecedented levels of demand as a result of Covid-19 — more than 11,000 people are calling 999 for an ambulance every day — and we know the peak of the pandemic is still to come.’

“As part of our preparations we must reach out to all our partners to help boost our response so we can continue to treat every patient who needs us during this difficult time.”

Andy Roe, Commissioner,
London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Andy Roe said: “We are committed to doing all we can to support a joint emergency response in the capital to Covid-19.’

“Within hours of us agreeing the detail of how we can support London Ambulance Service and NHS partners, we had hundreds of firefighters step forward to volunteer.’

“We’ve changed our operations to reduce non-critical training and some of the community safety work that we can’t do at this time, in order to maintain our operational resilience and provide support such as this for however long the situation lasts.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s great that our city’s firefighters have volunteered to take on additional critical roles during this crisis by supporting London Ambulance Service.’

“Their commitment to keeping Londoners safe on top of their usual jobs builds on the remarkable community spirit we are seeing across the capital.’

“I want to thank the London Ambulance Service for working night and day during this public health crisis to respond to the unprecedented demand they are seeing.’

“I’m so proud of the way Londoners are working together to ensure we are well placed to respond to the unprecedented challenges we face in the coming weeks and help save lives.”

London Ambulance Service will have hundreds of firefighters working alongside our frontline workers.

This will ramp up capacity fast to provide a massive increase in our ability to respond quickly to Londoners in need as demand further escalates across the capital.

As a fellow blue light service, the London Fire Brigade is perfectly poised to support us in getting Londoners the help they need quickly during these unprecedented times.

Having been previously trained by London Ambulance Service clinicians in basic life-saving skills, and qualified to drive emergency vehicles on blue lights, each London firefighter who has volunteered to help us will be trained and ready to support our skilled paramedics on the road in a day.