James Gray MP hosted a Parliamentary event thanking St John Ambulance volunteers and frontline staff for their extraordinary efforts during the coronavirus pandemic, on Wednesday September 8th.
50 St John people, including volunteer and employed ambulance crews from the South West, attended the event.
Since March 2020, tens of thousands of St John people have given more than a million hours of their time to care for people in hospitals, on ambulances, at events, through community projects, and by helping deliver the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme.
The event followed praise for St John volunteers during the day’s Prime Minister's Questions from Boris Johnson and was addressed by the Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid, the Charities Minister Baroness Barran, Minister for Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi, and Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer.
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, James Gray also raised the importance of the role of St John in supporting the health service:
“This is, I think, the first opportunity for the whole House to thank all those who have played a role in rolling out the superb vaccine programme over the past six months or so, ranging from the whole of the national health service to the military. If I may, I should like to make particular mention of the Order of St John—St John Ambulance.”
The Prime Minister replied: "The volunteers have been fantastic and I have met many of them over the past 18 months who have done an absolutely astonishing job.”
St John is now looking at how it can build a lasting legacy from the pandemic, ensuring clinically trained volunteers are ready to help the NHS when needed.
Chief Executive of St John Ambulance, Martin Houghton-Brown said:
“We want to develop and maintain the additional capacity we need to stand ready as the nation’s auxiliary ambulance service; to retain and engage the thousands of new volunteers who’ve joined us during the pandemic by creating new roles and opportunities within St John for them to help their communities through first aid; and to ensure the expertise and capacity of skilled volunteers like ours is included in future planning for emergency resilience and response.”