The St John ambulance service has made changes to the way it supports patients during transportation to hospital during the coronavirus pandemic.
St John medical director Dr Tony Smith says while St John understands that patients often like to have a support person accompany them in the ambulance, it is necessary to limit the number of people in emergency departments during the pandemic response.
“Ambulance officers across the country have been directed to only transport family members with patients in exceptional circumstances,” he says. “This is to limit the spread of Covid-19 and to keep patient families and health workers safe.”
There will be some exceptions on compassionate grounds, for example when a patient is gravely ill or when a child is being transported, however in cases like these, St John will ask that only one family member travels with the patient.
“We understand that this initiative may be distressing for patients and families in an already stressful situation but appreciate the public’s help with keeping everyone safe,” Dr Smith says.
“Please respect our ambulance officers and treat them with kindness should you not be permitted to travel in the ambulance with a loved one. Ambulance officers are caring, non-judgemental professionals but must follow best clinical standards.”