Module 3 of the Covid-19 Inquiry took place on the 27th September, with a focus on impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare. Richard Jory KC represented the IAA, opening with an introduction on who we are and what we do, highlighting that half of all NHS non-emergency patient transport is provided by independent ambulance providers. During the COVID 19 pandemic the NHS reliance on independent ambulance providers increased dramatically.
We highlighted two areas to the inquiry team.
Firstly, one of the main concerns identified by our Members was the lack of a comprehensive and clear line of communication between stakeholders in advance of significant changes in demand. This resulted in uncertainty and created barriers to adjust and adapt effectively. One suggestion we put forward is to introduce a permanent national team within NHS England to provide oversight and leadership for non-emergency patient transport services.
The second area we highlighted was on the classification and assigning of key workers status for independent ambulance/health care employees. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our Members reported difficulties around key worker status and the delay in being assigned this status. This meant that staff employed by independent providers had difficulty accessing vaccines, PPE and tests.
You can watch Richard’s statement 4 hours and 26 minutes into the Inquiry’s hearing on 29th September via this link.
Our submission is now under review and we expect to have further input over the next 12 months. For more information about the Covid-19 inquiry, go to covid19.public-inquiry.uk