COVID-19 and current AACE working practices

Firstly, we would like to acknowledge the extreme, unprecedented pressure that all UK ambulance services are currently under in relation to COVID-19

The AACE team has reviewed how it can best assist trusts and is providing enhanced support to chief executives as well as to key national groups, including identification and management of interdependencies across groups.

Non-COVID-19-related requests of trusts have ceased for the time-being.  Non-COVID-19 related work and focus will resume as soon as it is deemed appropriate.

COVID-19 Coronavirus: An unprecedented threat

The NHS ambulance service is playing a vital role helping the UK cope with the unprecedented COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Many ambulance staff operate on the frontline of NHS healthcare, treating patients and, where appropriate, transporting them safely to other parts of the urgent and emergency care system.

Behind them are thousands of support staff who are equally committed to fighting this virus, either taking calls from the public, ensuring ambulances stay on the road or managing vital back-end functions like information technology, finance and human resources.

NHS ambulance services are working flat out to ensure that strategic planning and operational action plans are in place so the sector is able to effectively treat all patients it comes into contact with – including those who may be affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

This additional burden comes at a time when the ambulance service is already under intense pressure to manage its ‘normal’ caseload of other patients, many of whom need lifesaving care.

The key objectives for the NHS Ambulance Service during the pandemic period are:

– To ensure safety, protection and staff wellbeing standards are maintained to enable staff to effectively treat patients affected by coronavirus.
– To manage resources wisely by ensuring that robust plans are in place to cope with the additional pandemic demand, while ensuring the service remains able to respond quickly to other life-threatening emergency calls.
– To play its part in encouraging the public to remain safe and sensible, and to follow national guidelines on social distancing, hand washing and other preventative measures.

What is the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) doing to help?

AACE is a membership organisation that represents all UK ambulance services, bringing together a central team of ambulance service experts in one place to help develop and improve patient care across the sector.

This national remit enables AACE to provide an effective representative voice for UK ambulance services, creating opportunities for stakeholder engagement with all areas of the healthcare arena and beyond.

AACE’s main role during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is supporting its ambulance service member trusts to help them cope with this unprecedented challenge.

What can I do to help?

Help our trusts focus on the most seriously ill patients and only call an ambulance if you think it’s a genuine emergency.

There are plenty of other ways to access NHS healthcare including via NHS111 online, your GP or your local pharmacy.

Listen to Government advice and practise self-isolation and social distancing.

This guidance from London Ambulance Service explains how to minimise your exposure to the COVID-19 coronavirus and what to do if you suspect you are infected.