Developing measures to improve ambulance service safety during the ‘window of care’

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

  • A North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust project, in partnership with the Advancing Quality Alliance.
  • Project involves applying the Safety Measurement and Monitoring Framework to the ‘window of care’ (from receipt of the 999 call to arrival at hospital) for ambulance services.
  • Will develop a suite of safety measures to identify risks and put in place suitable mechanisms for measuring, reporting and reducing harm.

Contact: Jane Topham, Project Lead, Safety, Measurement and Monitoring Programme, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust

The North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) is a complex organisation covering an area of over 5,400 square miles and serving a population of seven million people. The service receives over 1.1 million 999 calls each year and works in partnership with multiple stakeholders and a significant number of volunteers.

NWAS is working with the Advancing Quality Alliance (AQuA) on this Safety Measurement and Monitoring Framework project. They plan to apply the framework and develop a suite of safety measures to cover the ‘window of care’ – from receipt of 999 call to arrival at hospital – for ambulance services, to identify risks and subsequently provide a suitable mechanism for measuring, reporting and reducing harm.

Through this project, the team aims to promote open and honest reporting of incidents and risks. It will help inform the introduction of measures to assess and improve the safety of emergency ambulance patients, including those identified for alternative care and referral pathways.

The suite of safety measures that is developed will be used by frontline ambulance staff, building on existing safety measurement processes. The project will also involve staff participation in education and development programmes, and engaging with external and internal stakeholders.

The project is consistent with the national campaign, ‘Sign up to safety’, which is aimed at halving avoidable harm in the NHS over the next three years. It will also help contribute towards NWAS’ objective of becoming the ‘safest ambulance service in the UK’.

Further reading

Research report

The measurement and monitoring of safety

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