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St John Ambulance volunteers prepare to boost capacity in ambulance trusts

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 01 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2974

Linked Opinion

As we head into a tough winter, the NHS is under huge pressure

  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

The charity St John Ambulance is in discussions with NHS leaders in England to set up an auxiliary ambulance service to support hard pressed English trusts, The BMJ has learnt.

The service would be part of NHS Reserves, the wider army-style volunteer force whose rollout in England was announced by the health secretary, Sajid Javid, on 28 November.

Some ambulance services in England have been stretched beyond capacity, and paramedics warned in October that services were regularly holding as many as 300 calls at a time, when no ambulances were available.1 Health officials have said that the NHS Reserves scheme is a national extension of pilot work undertaken since the start of the pandemic and that further details will be released “in due course.”

Javid said, “Local hospitals will be able to mobilise a broad range of fully trained staff, from retired doctors to IT experts, giving the NHS additional capacity when it needs it most.”

More than 750 000 people signed up to become NHS volunteer responders in …

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