TASC, The Ambulance Staff Charity provide advice and support to ambulance staff throughout the UK which is approximately 70,000 personnel. Support is accessed through a confidential freephone line at our Head Office where beneficiaries can discuss their individual circumstances with a highly experienced team, including qualified counsellors, who identify the right support to meet their needs. TASC offer timely, tailored, often multi-stranded, support to individuals and families, helping them to improve their circumstances.
The comprehensive package of support includes:
• Physical rehabilitation for ambulance staff injured in the line of duty.
• Counselling - in-house qualified counsellor speaks to all callers to establish the best treatment pathway in order to have the best long-term outcome.
• Mental Health support - psychological support for ambulance staff struggling with stress related illness or struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
• Bereavement support.
• Welfare support/Debt Advice and financial grants.
The team is made up of 6 full time and 7 part time members of staff. The Covid-19 pandemic is moving us into unchartered territory as it permeates all aspects of life. What we do know is that there are increasing pressures on our emergency services at this time; our Ambulance staff work at the frontline and coronavirus is having a serious impact upon them.
Call numbers are soaring, interactions with patients are changing, and paramedics on the road and staff in control centres are under acute pressure. At a time when most people are distancing themselves from others, ambulance crews are doing what they always do - going into the homes of sick and vulnerable strangers to offer help.
A paramedic with the Welsh Ambulance Service gave a candid and brutally honest account of his experiences on the frontline during the Covid-19 outbreak admitting that many of his colleagues were "terrified" of going into work, with many never dealing with anything so traumatic.
Pre-Coronavirus, 2 in 5 people we saw were experiencing PTSD symptoms as result of their job; the impact of the pandemic is likely to add to these numbers. This is so much more than the job, it will be associated impacts such as the loss of colleagues and loved ones, the worry of going home to your family not knowing whether you are infectious, or the strain of not being able to go home at all. We believe all these impacts will result in an increase in those experiencing PTSD symptoms, which will have serious consequences for the individual, their loved ones, and their employers. On top of this, ambulance staff are exhausted, and when people are exhausted, the risk of physical injury increases and we are expecting to see greater numbers of people contacting TASC for support with their physical recovery after injury.
The aftermath of the pandemic will be felt by ambulance staff, their loved ones and ambulance service volunteers for a long time to come. In short, the consequences of Coronavirus on their mental health, the physical exhaustion over the previous months and the impact of loss of income means that as we come out the other side of this pandemic, we’re expecting to see an explosion in demand for support from ambulance staff. It is vital that we build a long-lasting network of support that needs to be about the whole picture of mental, physical and financial wellbeing.
To this extent, TASC - The Ambulance Staff Charity has established a Covid-19 Response Fund to support our ambulance service personnel during these unprecedented times.
Funding will be used to continue to deliver high quality support in straining circumstances, helping to minimise anxiety and ensure the health and well-being of serving ambulance staff at this time of crisis. Please have a look at our latest Impact Report that showcases our work and the impact we have made on the lives of our Ambulance family.