In response to recent concerns about ambulance services in the East of England, the NHS within the region held a Risk Summit on Tuesday 30 January.
Co-hosted by NHS Improvement and NHS England, the summit was attended by representatives from the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), its lead commissioner Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, the Care Quality Commission, Healthwatch Suffolk, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, Queen Elizabeth NHS Foundation Trust and Health Education England.
The Risk Summit identified a number of actions that were needed to secure greater resilience for regional ambulance services. Some of these actions are for the East of England Ambulance Services Trust (EEAST) and some actions are for the wider NHS.
The key actions are as follows:
- EEAST will deploy additional staff and vehicles between now and Easter. This will include securing additional vehicles from independent providers
- EEAST will improve its ability to forecast demand as part of strengthened winter planning
- EEAST will take steps to improve staff availability at peak times, including action to improve staff health through flu vaccination and reviewing the Trust’s leave policy
- Local hospitals will be asked to accept prompt handover of patients from ambulance crews in order to release the crews for other calls
- EEAST will improve its internal escalation procedures to deal with periods of high pressure
- CCGs and other providers of NHS care across the region will implement measures to moderate the use of ambulance services, using safe alternatives wherever possible
- Any Serious Incidents that occurred over the winter period will be subject to a thorough review process to ascertain whether patients were harmed.
There will be a follow up meeting in a fortnight to review progress with each of these actions. NHS Improvement and NHS England will also establish enhanced monitoring to ensure each action is fully implemented over the coming months.