The 22-25 strategy explains how it was created following consultation with staff throughout the North West region, asking them what they thought the priorities should be through their experience on the patient frontline. It also describes how, following the global pandemic, healthcare providers have had to evolve and adapt to new ways of working, with a strong focus on partnerships with other public sector groups such as councils, NHS trusts and emergency services colleagues.
Deputy Chief Executive, Salman Desai explains: “Our healthcare needs have changed and, as both an emergency service and an NHS trust, North West Ambulance Service needed to look at how we can adapt and improve in this new world. During the last two years, we have responded in ways in which we could have never imagined, there have also been changes across the wider healthcare system, of which we are a major part.
“We need to go back to basics to address how effectively we deliver our services, ensuring we have the right resources in the right place, at the right time, to perform to the high standards our patients expect. We also want to listen more and demonstrate that we act on feedback from staff, patients and partners. Staff have told us we need to continue to improve the everyday working lives of everyone at NWAS, so while our service to patients is extremely important, we must also focus on getting these basics right and look after each other.”
From the perspective of patients, the trust knows that response times matter and obviously there are targets to be met, but the quality of care provided is just as important. NWAS wants to work with the new integrated care systems to achieve the right investment in the trust to make sure staff have all the right resources, training and expertise to deliver that high-quality care.
Salman adds: “We have an extremely talented pool of clinicians working for the trust, who have worked with many patients over the years while developing their skills and emergency care knowledge. We want to use their expertise and their experience to ensure our care reaches the highest standards, and this knowledge is shared with colleagues and partner organisations.”
The North West, has some of the most deprived communities in the country and with that comes enormous health challenges. Social circumstances can result in people having hugely different experiences of healthcare and NWAS has a part to play in reducing these inequalities.
The strategy also includes information about population health; acknowledging that now is the time to step up to these challenges to support local communities through meaningful and sustained relationships with partners, enabling NWAS to take on a key role as part of the wider healthcare system. Using the expertise of trust clinicians, system leadership skills, resources and the outstanding compassion of staff, NWAS can positively contribute to both emergency and urgent healthcare.
Through consultations with staff when drafting the strategy, it was obvious that the past few years has been difficult for them so in response, the trust has committed to creating a working environment where physical and mental health and wellbeing is a priority.
NWAS also wants to create employment opportunities that make a difference and fully represent the communities in the North West, so the strategy includes a pledge to do more to attract, retain and develop staff from a range of diverse backgrounds and to develop innovative ways supported by its various networks to champion equality and diversity across the trust.
Despite the challenge of the pandemic and the high demands on the service in the last two years, NWAS has introduced a number of innovations and improvements and the strategy also covers the trust’s ambitious plans to do more to improve the way it delivers services.
Salman concludes: “We have set the bar extremely high but we believe that by adhering to the values of our organisation, we can create an ambulance service the people of the North West can trust and depend upon. It is ambitious and none of our objectives will be achieved overnight but we believe it gives us a solid foundation to build upon the skills our workforce has and make improvements to not only be an employer of choice, but also to be a first rate pre-hospital emergency and urgent healthcare provider.
“We believe this strategy makes our organisational direction very clear and prioritises the areas we need to focus on – if we can get these basics right, we can serve the public better, with a motivated and ambitious workforce.”
The 22-25 Strategy is available on the trust website here.