Ask St John how the charity is continuing to support the NHS

Craig Harman profile picture

19 August 2022

Craig Harman
Acting Chief Operating Officer
St John Ambulance


St John Ambulance has been formally commissioned by the NHS to provide England's ambulance auxiliary, following a competitive tendering process, and the result will make a big difference to patients. This means that our first aid and health response charity will continue to add resilience to NHS ambulance trusts, treating and transporting patients, through a contract – the first of its kind in this country – worth up to £30m over four years.

The certainty this new arrangement gives St John will enable us to put additional long-term planning and investment into our people and fleet that's required to live up to our mission of being an ambulance auxiliary that can always be relied upon. We were pleased to have the opportunity to tender for this work, and we're both proud and humble to have been awarded the contract, which came into place on Monday 1 August. Through it, we will help provide extra resilience and capacity in times of high demand.

Our charity has around 800 ambulance crew members – a mixture of employees and volunteers – with more than 250 ambulances. As a minimum, we have the ability to provide an extra 500 shifts – or over 5,000 extra ambulance hours – per month across England's 10 NHS ambulance trusts.

Most recently, we have proven our ability to support the NHS and communities with the work we have undertaken for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Craig Harman    Acting Chief Operating Officer

St John has always worked closely with the NHS during periods of winter pressures and during other emergencies before that. Most recently, we have proven our ability to support the NHS and communities with the work we have undertaken for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our highly skilled volunteers and staff have stepped up and – to date – delivered 1.6 million hours of support to communities in England since March 2020 – including providing extra resilience to ambulance services when needed, working in hospitals, and administering COVID-19 vaccinations.

Now we can continue delivering the excellent patient care our ambulance crews and other St John people have delivered over the last couple of years – including ensuring our highly trained people and state of the art vehicles are always here for the NHS and communities in times of greatest need.

We are currently gearing up to support the NHS with COVID-19 boosters and flu vaccinations.

Craig Harman    Acting Chief Operating Officer

News of the pandemic may have gone quiet but coronavirus remains a threat and providing the ambulance auxiliary is just one of the ways St John Ambulance continues supporting healthcare in England. We are currently gearing up to support the NHS with COVID-19 boosters and flu vaccinations. And, as many of the first wave of people who have given more than a million hours of their time to the programme since January 2021 are now back at work or busy with their everyday lives, we need to recruit lots more Volunteer Vaccinators to help us this autumn and winter.

If you would like to become a Volunteer Vaccinator, or know anyone who would, now is a great time to join the team that is protecting the most vulnerable people in communities all over England. No previous experience is required as full training from St John and the NHS is provided.

We need to recruit and train 5,000 more people, ready to start administering lifesaving vaccinations from September onwards, and applications can be made online now.

Visit www.sja.org.uk/volunteer-vaccinator for more details.

About the author

Craig Harman profile picture

Craig Harman
Acting Chief Operating Officer

Craig Harman joined St John Ambulance in 2019, having spent 17 years in the NHS ambulance service, in London and Scotland, most recently as head of service delivery at the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

As a qualified ambulance crew member, Craig routinely cares for patients as well as experiencing the changing demands on ambulance staff.

Outside of St John, Craig has previously advised the Care Quality Commission, is a member of the NHS Assembly, and volunteers as a trustee for his local food bank.

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