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Emergency appeal as St John Ambulance volunteers help in Surrey hospital for first time

3 minute read
Emergency appeal as St John Ambulance volunteers help in Surrey hospital for first time

Published by Carol Musgrave at 6:00am 7th June 2020.

For the first time ever,  St John Ambulance volunteers have been working in a Surrey hospital to help the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

As part of a joint initiative with St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, volunteers for the national health and first aid charity are performing the duties of healthcare assistants, on wards and in A&E.

The are also providing ambulance crews, responding to 999 calls from their major hub in Guildford.

During Volunteers Week, volunteer Sandra Bernstein told Eagle more of what they have been doing:

"Anything from supporting a patient and reassuring them, to offering them tea and coffee, holding their hand, but also taking observations, ECGs and moving them around the hospital.

"It's bit like an HCA - a Health Care Assistant.

"Most of the regular volunteers hospitals would use, I believe, are not going in, so St John has stepped up."

Sandra said St John Ambulance is also supporting the NHS's ambulance services:

"We are responding to 999 calls.

"We have a major hub in Guildford and others all over the country."

The charity has trained up its volunteers for Covid training, so they could then be deployed to hospitals.

Matthew Barker, deputy chief nurse who has led the initiative at St. Peter's, said:

"The clinical volunteers have attended training and are using their communication and care skills to support patients and relieve the pressure on staff.

"I am really grateful for the time people have given and impressed by the willingness to work all shifts over the 24-hour period."

It comes at a time when the charity itself is in need of funding to support its ongoing role and to secure its future.

Sandra tells us it launched an emergency fundraising appeal after its events were cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis:

"The emergency appeal needs to raise at least six million pounds.

"We save lives every day and this is the largest deployment of St John Ambulance volunteers in peacetime, since World War Two, and our resources are stretched like never before."

If you can help, find out more here.




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