Kerry London News

Private ambulance: Supporting the community

Tuesday 30th August
Private ambulance: Supporting the community

Pressure is mounting on all 11 ambulance services in England, and many are redirecting most of their services to handling 999 calls and reducing their private medical cover contracts. This change is driving increased demand for private ambulances, which already deal with many non-emergency services across the UK.  

Ambulance services data shows that in June 2022, the average response time for urgent incidents in England was just over nine minutes. This delay is far higher than the seven-minute standard. For severe conditions such as a stroke or chest pain, the response time was nearly 52 minutes. Despite the serious nature of these conditions, the current response time is almost three times the 18-minute target. These extreme circumstances prompted Government ministers to ask the public to take extra precautions in the recent hot weather to avoid adding to their overwhelming workload.

Martin Flaherty, Managing Director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, said that the NHS ambulances were operating at a major incident level.

Flaherty said:

“Severe delays in ambulance crews being able to hand over their patients at many hospital emergency departments are having a very significant impact on the ambulance sector’s ability to respond to patients as quickly as we would like to because our crews and vehicles are stuck outside those hospitals.”   

Filling the gap: private ambulance services manage non-emergency care  

In May, the Southeast Coast ambulance service (Secamb) ended several long-term contracts to focus on 999 calls. Gatwick Airport, Premier League Club Brighton and Hove Albion, and Goodwood racecourse in West Sussex all paid to have their ambulance car and paramedics on site. Private ambulances at Gatwick take the pressure off the emergency ambulance services by dealing with patient transfers, air ambulances, medical repatriations, and private events. Gatwick will replace this service as the travel industry returns to normal and passengers increase.   

Secamb’s move has prompted speculation that other ambulance services may limit or exit private contracts to focus on “core” work. Secamb said organisations affected by its decision should consider increasing medical cover from private ambulance providers.  

Managing the risks

Private ambulance operators, blood bikes, paramedics, and mountain rescuers are high-risk professions. Specialist emergency vehicle schemes generally include patient and organ transfer and cover for attendance at events. Firms can buy Emergency Services Cover and medical malpractice cover separately, but this increases the chance of gaps in cover. Each insurer will have differences in cover, so it’s advisable to buy both from the same provider.

Working with an insurance broker specialising in private ambulance cover is advisable to protect your business properly. They will ensure no gaps in cover and advise on all the latest legislative and regulatory developments in this area. Medical Malpractice Insurance generally covers advice, treatment, stock, equipment, contents, and business interruption. A broker can also advise on the need for motor fleet insurance, Public Liability, and Employers Liability for private firms with more than one employee. Claims such as accidents occurring during patient transfers and patient injury can often fall under other public liability insurance.

Kerry London covers companies that range from specialist patient transfer; non-emergency patient journeys; repatriation of patients to the UK, and due to growing pressure on the NHS, 999 emergency services to NHS Ambulance Trusts at times of peak demand. We can insure the full range of companies from one-person operations to large fleets of vehicles. All firms serving the NHS must be Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered private ambulances when working for the NHS.

The firms we insure typically attend the following events:

  • Motor cross shows
  • Sports events requiring paramedics on site
  • Film and tv medical provision
  • Blue light
  • Individuals who can transport blood and specimens
  • Standard patient transfer
  • Air ambulance clients – helicopter ambulances
  • Psychiatric transfer
  • Airside medical services
  • Blood bikes
  • Repatriation/overseas work
  • Organ and tissue transfer
  • Search and rescue – potholes and caves
  • Collection of deceased persons

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Kerry London is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The company is a leading UK independent and Lloyd’s accredited broker, which means that we work with a wide range of niche and major insurers.

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Categories: Emergency & Healthcare,