Updated: Mar 21
UPDATED: 21/03/2020. SCROLL DOWN FOR LATEST POST.
Our Statement Response is available to view and save as a PDF here; http://bit.ly/SSG-COVID19
This is an important statement for our clients, staff and followers relating to Covid-19 and Secure Solutions Group. We want to share the steps we are taking to protect you and continue delivering our services. We are primarily an Independent Ambulance Service, providing Support Services to both public and private sectors, so have a responsibility to ensure services continue to operate safely, while balancing the need to follow government advice.
- In summary, we are adapting to each of our clients needs and continue to provide support where this is needed.
- Our NHS Support Services and Medical Transport Services continue to operate as normal, with adapted safe processes and contingency plans to ensure service delivery. This includes ensuring we have additional trained staff and resources available.
- We are carefully monitoring the situation, adapting to these, and following guidance from the government and World Health Organisation.
- Our building cleaners are taking measures to ensure the environment, communal areas and high footfall areas are clean and disinfected. Our vehicles, their fixtures and our equipment is subject to stringent cleaning and disinfecting. This includes a regular change in our uniform and changes of uniform after spending extended time or contact within an NHS hospital. All our vehicles and individual staff have a personal supply of facial tissues and antibacterial hand gel.
- Where clients need to postpone services, particularly event services, there will be no charge for this. Where a large deposit or prepayment has been taken, a full refund will be given. We are currently reviewing our First Aid training services, and if these should continue in small groups. We will provide an update shortly.
- Non-essential meetings with us and our staff have been postponed at this time, and we are not accepting visitors to either of our offices. This is for the protection of our staff and integrity of our equipment.
- Staff wellbeing is also a top priority and are fully aware to stay home if they have a new persistent cough or high temperature. They are also aware of the necessity of Infection Prevention Control and even further increased handwashing and other measures. Staff have been briefed to ensure the risk of them catching or spreading Covid-19 is heavily minimised.
We will provide updates here when they are required. A separate message helping our clients, staff and followers with helpful advice, and wellbeing support, will follow separately later on.
A message from Edward Barbieri, Logistics Director: "Now more than ever before, we are reminded of the importance of delivering our services and ensuring everyone's safety while doing so. Know that this is all a short-term solution to minimise the impact of a developing virus, and this won't continue for long. Things will absolutely return to normal, so keep that in mind at this uncertain time. You are not alone and we will support our clients throughout this entire situation."
COVID-19 Statement Update 19/03/2020 12:00 Re: Medical Transport Service at Secure Solutions Group Purpose: To provide client and staff reassurance that these services continue to operate as normal, with safety precautions implemented. We are primarily an Independent Ambulance Service, providing Support Services, so have a responsibility to ensure services continue to operate safely, while balancing the need to follow government advice.
Our Statement Response to COVID-19 is relevant to all our clients, with the following information specific to our Medical Transport Service. Our previously issued Statement is also available here; http://bit.ly/SSG-COVID19.
Our Medical Transport and Medical Transport Support Services (and majority of other services) continue to operate as normal with additional safety measures in place. We ask our clients to continue to engage with our services as normally as they can at this time as we continue operate. Support us in supporting you.
I'd firstly like to reassure you that Secure Solutions Group are closely following Public Health England guidance for employers and businesses on the issue of COVID-19. As part of recent Government updates and guidelines, we have put strong contingency plans in place for our customers to ensure we can continue to provide the best possible service in any eventuality.
Secondly the reliable and flexible Medical Transport Support Service we offer will continue throughout the developing situation. I have ensured our staff are fully aware of enhanced Infection Prevention Control measures, and that these are strictly implemented. This includes increased personal handwashing of a minimum of 30 seconds, as has always been the case within the healthcare sector, and the wipedown of interior vehicle surfaces and handles after each and every use.
Contingency plans are in place to ensure that if our staff were to show symptoms, there will be no disruption to our services. This includes having trained staff on standby to cover sickness during any 7-14 day isolation period. However we have already taken measures to significantly lower the risk of staff contracting COVID-19, including working from home and advising social distancing to ensure they are fit for work.
Regarding any lockdown that may be implemented, the very nature of our business (Ambulance Services) mean we can continue to operate through these for both emergency and non-emergency work. If any lockdowns are announced, we will update the live blog on our website with confirmation we remain unaffected.
As a company I can assure everybody that, although this is clearly a challenging time for all of us, we remain strong and stable and this alone will not see us bought into difficulty. Although nobody could plan for such a specific and developing situation, we have contingency plans in place to ensure our business activities can continue.
I ask all of that engage with us to continue to support us by using our services as you normally would, wherever possible. We understand that workload could be impacted either way as the situation develops, and will remain as flexible as we always have been.
If you have any specific questions, need any specific support or have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. We are updating our live blog with updates as and when they arise, which is available to view here;
Thank you for your time.
Joseph Newman, BSc(Hons)
Director of Operations
Secure Solutions Group
COVID-19 Statement Update 20/03/2020 16:00
Re: First Aid Courses at Secure Solutions Group
(Continuing with extensive safety measures)
Purpose: To make clear our position on those booked, those wanting to book, and the new guidelines for those needing renewal.
We currently provide First Aid courses on the first Monday of each month. With companies cancelling and postponing all events under the government's advice to socially distance, where do we stand?
After discussing the issue with our Awarding Organisation (AO), the people we register the course with and who issue the qualification, it is a matter of balance. On one hand you could consider First Aid training very important, particularly for those who don't know First Aid and need the qualification for a new job such as working with children and vulnerable groups. On the other hand you could consider training as a social gathering, that should be avoided as per government guidelines.
Balancing both sides of the issue, we have decided to continue to deliver First Aid training, on the basis it will be those who NEED the training who will remain booked, and book on. This is subject to change should the fast moving situation develop, however is our current decision.
We have of course implemented new safety measures for our First Aid training, and are following our AO's advice and guidance, and that of the Resus Council. Safety measures include, but are not limited to;
- Limiting our courses to half capacity
- Symptom screening of all candidates prior to arrival
- Rigorous cleaning of surfaces and equipment prior to course delivery and regularly during, including between use
- Access to handwashing facilities regularly and requesting everyone wash hands prior to entering the training room
- Providing tissues and use of hand gel for candidates
- Seating candidates 1-3 metres away from each other
- Avoiding close contact, or contact under 1 metre, for longer than 10 minutes at a time when required (I.e Recovery Positions etc)
- Prohibiting reusable cups and ensuring cutlery and crockery items are one use only before being disinfected
As you can see, we have carefully thought through how we manage everyone's safety, and using the science of COVID-19 to avoid likelihood of transmission. I.e touching the face with infected hands, uncovered coughing/sneezing and close contact for over 15 minutes with an infected individual.
For those who wish to postpone their training for any reason, we understand and will follow St John Ambulance's approach to their training, namely plan to resume from Monday 1st June. We will honour any payment made being transferrable to other date, with no charge. For those wanting to postpone with certificates due to expire this month, please be aware that The HSE has announced a 3 month extension to the validity for all certificates coming up for renewal on or after 16th March during the current Covid crisis. Their statement is available on our website for your reference.
To confirm: Our First Aid training will be continuing, with extensive safety measures. You are able to book onto any courses you see advertised. Or if already booked, a confirmation email will be received 7 days prior. As mentioned, this is subject to change as this is clearly a developing situation, however we update our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) the blog on our website as soon as they occur. Thank you for your support at this time, and we look forward to giving you the life skill of First Aid.
Joseph Newman, BSc(Hons)
Director of Operations
Secure Solutions Group
HSE statement in full
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is aware that people holding Offshore Medic (OM), Offshore First Aid (OFA), First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) certificates nearing expiry date, might experience disruption to access to requalification training as a result of events or circumstances generated by the coronavirus pandemic.
HSE’s current guidance on the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l74.pdf and the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989 https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l123.pdf is that those holding an OM, OFA, FAW or EFAW qualification should undertake retraining before their original certificate expires and HSE strongly recommends that employers, and individuals holding those qualifications should plan for requalification training well in advance of expiry dates.
If however requalification training is prevented for reasons associated directly with coronavirus or by complying with related government advice, it is reasonable and practical to extend the validity of current certificates by up to 3 months. Anyone taking advantage of this extension should be able to describe clearly their reasons for delaying requalification training, and demonstrate steps they have taken to undertake the training, if required.
This guidance comes into effect for certificates expiring on or after 16th March 2020. HSE will review this matter over the coming months and will issue further statements as necessary.
COVID-19 Statement Update 21/03/2020 18:00
Re: Staff Support and Employment
Purpose: To provide reassurance and an update to staff who rely on us for income, supporting staff affected by the announcement of venues closures, provide any support required.
Here is a summary of the below statement for staff;
- Those employed or self employed with us will continue to be paid a minimum of 16 hours for a minimum of 12 weeks or until other income is sourced
- An emergency payment of £100.00 is available for basic sustenance and we will support staff in an application for Universal Credits if required
- We will extend our support to staff in any way that is needed
- Staff will be redeployed wherever possible
- Useful offers for those deployed will be updated shortly
- Free mental health support remains available for all staff
If you are affected by the latest news, you will be contacted directly, however it's important to be transparent so have promised to continue publishing updates as and when they arise. I will firstly approach the subject of the closure of all public venues. This clearly affects all areas of staffing within our business from the event and venues medics we provide, to the security services we provide. I want to outline the plan of how we will get you through this period.
Firstly if you are employed with us, your employment is protected and you will continue to be paid, even if you are not redeployed. The government has confirmed they will assist us, if required, in paying 80% of your salaries which we would top up to 100%. For those on 0 hours contracts, I have taken the decision to move you to a minimum 16 hours a week contract to provide a small amount of stability and income for you. This is effective immediately.
For those who are self employed and have worked at least 8 hours a week with us over the last 3 months, while we wait for any level of government intervention, I will guarantee you a minimum of 16 hours of income per week, for a minimum of 12 weeks or until you find another source of income. We have already ensured we are in line for a government grant, and it is my intention to ensure this is used to support the people who keep our business going - you.
I will also be issuing an emergency payment to any member of staff affected of £100.00 for basic sustenance. As a company we will also support you in applying for Universal Credits if required, to ensure your income is boosted to sufficiently cover your living costs and bills. We can support staff with an advance on all mentioned payments as required.
I will be using my salary to ensure the above is met and you have my personal guarantee that I will be available to assist you in any way I possibly can. As a business that is still operating as normal at this moment in time, I will not see any of our affected staff, whether that be employed or self employed, unable to meet their basic living costs.
Where possible, and qualifications match, we will absolutely deploy our staff within our Independent Ambulance Service Activities and Security Services such as our ongoing HALO, Medical Transport, Medical Support Services and Retail Security and Key holding Services. We are already reviewing where this is possible, and will be in touch should it be an option.
Finally we will keep you updated later on with the offers the very kind community are continuing to extend to those key workers on our NHS contracts. And of course regularly reminders and updates of the safety advice we've already issued to those continuing to operate.
Free and confidential Mental Health support is available through UNWIND. We will issue a link to sign up shortly. If you need this more urgently, please don't hesitate to ask.
I know this is a very uncertain time for all of us, but we will get through this - as a country and as a company. As I made clear before, we will remain stable and ensure we support the industry during and after this pandemic. We are in the fortunate position with our Independent Ambulance Services in particular, to be working through this time, so will do our best to engage as many staff as we can and support those who we cannot.
If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact the office, or myself personally if you wish.
Director of Operations
Secure Solutions Group