NAO report highlights the central role ambulances have to play in NHS

Thursday, 09 June, 2011

Ambulance Service Network director Jo Webber said:

"The ambulance service has a pivotal role to play in the performance of the entire urgent and emergency care system. It is currently offering better care, more quickly, to more people than ever before. The ambulance service is keen build on this progress by moving towards performance measures based on outcomes for patients rather than just speed of response.

"Ambulance services recognise that variation needs to be addressed and information needs to be shared more effectively between ambulance services and across the urgent and emergency system.

"Many of the decisions about where a patient's care is delivered and how clinically effective it will be, start with the skill and expertise of frontline paramedics and other ambulance staff. Ambulance trusts are committed to playing a central role in local urgent care systems and we need to learn from reports such as this to help trusts to fulfil their undoubted potential.

"Getting this right will require coordination across different parts of the NHS from community walk-in centres to large 'hyper acute' stroke and trauma centres. New services such as the NHS 111 number are already showing promise to link up services and improve care for patients.

"More challenges lie ahead in the future, for example, to develop better systems for trauma and stroke care that use the increasing skills of ambulance staff to make sure people get to the most appropriate place, as quickly as possible every time."

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