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Press Release - Combined Fire & Ambulance Service 28.05.2020

Combined Fire and Ambulance Service recommended to States of Alderney

Alderney's Policy & Finance Committee has recommended that the Island should have a combined Fire and Ambulance Service.

After considering three options, the Committee referred a final decision to the full States of Alderney meeting in June and asked for plans to be drawn up to move away from the current ambulance subscription programme in the 2021 Budget.

The States has been running the Ambulance Service since taking emergency interim measures in December 2019 when the Board of Alderney Ambulance Service Ltd (AAS Ltd) declared its intention to close following an independent review that raised questions about safety standards, and a subsequent industrial dispute.

The preferred option would bring together the States Fire Service together with new ambulance volunteers into an integrated emergency service with an aligned contact centre and shared policies and procedures.

St John Ambulance, the Island Medical Centre (IMC) and Mignot Memorial Hospital (MMH) would provide support with management and leadership coming from the States of Alderney.
The Committee was told that this option offers the opportunity to consider alternative funding through property tax rather than the existing subscription model. This would mean the service would be all-inclusive to all residents and visitors.

Other advantages include:

  •  A common emergency services communication system and process that has been in place since the beginning of the year
  •  A larger combined crew offering greater flexibility and resilience
  •  Joint services management from the same location
  •  Combined training initiatives and equipment
  •  Lower staffing costs and professional civil service administration
  •  Potentially cheaper for residents compared with the subscription model and an opportunity to waive fees for voluntary organisations and events

Two other options considered were to establish a new ambulance company using a similar model to AAS Ltd, and a States of Alderney Ambulance Service as is currently being operated with the support of St John Ambulance, the IMC and MMH.

The estimated annual cost of the combined service is £136,550 - the States of Alderney currently pays an annual grant of £40,000 for the Ambulance Service while the Fire Service budget is £62,400. £33,830 is raised from subscriptions. The combined option would provide annual savings of over £28,000 per year on a comparable basis with the company model and over £3,000 per year when compared to a stand-alone Ambulance service.

If adopted by the States of Alderney, the recommended option could mean that patient transport which requires no first aid would revert to individuals or the care home using taxis or other volunteer organisations if an ambulance was not needed.

The Committee was told that the current States-run ambulance service has received considerable positive feedback from the professional bodies, including the Island Medical Centre, as well as members of the public.

Additional training for the 17 volunteers together with exercises on land and water has delivered a high-quality service which can deal with emergencies and everyday patients, including suspected Covid-19 cases. Crews have continued to train in order to be able to cope with the additional risks during the Covid-19 crisis.