During the pandemic, South Central Ambulance Service was under pressure, demand rose exponentially and was outstripping available resources.
SCAS experienced unprecedented staff sickness and wanted to explore opportunities to utilise military co-responders (MCR). MCRs are members of the armed forces who respond to emergency calls on behalf of SCAS where they administer lifesaving skills prior to the attendance of an ambulance.
SCAS, via the military application for civil authorities, asked for the assistance of an MCR team which went via the secretary of state for approval. This was agreed and to-date three deployments ranging from 120 personnel in the first wave to 11 currently have been deployed to support frontline operations. MCRs also provided a team of experts to ensure personal protective equipment supplies were distributed before a critical incident was declared. A dedicated military operations team was deployed 24/7 in the SCAS COVID cell advising the gold cell to ensure military resources could be deployed quickly.
SCAS uses its dedicated team of educational mentors to train and develop skills whilst the equipment and vehicles are funded through the SCAS charity or the trust.
The MCR model has benefitted from significant investment by SCAS and is fully sustainable in terms of logistics, finance, training, policy and outputs.
During the first two operational deployments, the MCRs provided SCAS with an additional 26,773 operational hours, of which 12,000 hours were frontline. They treated over 7,000 patients.
To see more you can visit the trust's website below.