Help Accessing the Service


The Trust has a number of different communication channels which we use to help people with disabilities or hard to reach minority groups access the service.

Pictorial Communications Handbooks

The Trust's first Pictorial Communication Handbook was developed with the aim to overcome communication barriers with patients with learning disabilities and patients with language barriers or communications problems who were using Patient Transport Services.

The book uses symbols, pictures and simple words to aid ambulance healthcare professionals when communicating with patients with a learning disability or those who otherwise may not be able to speak or provide clear or coherent information.  Due to the success of the hand book, NWAS has since launched a new version of the handbook for the Paramedic Emergency Service and issued to all emergency vehicles.

SMS Texting

The mobile phone emergency SMS text trail was introduced to NWAS in September 2009 and has been running widely in the UK for over 24 months. The service is predominantly used by D/deaf and speech-impaired people who find it difficult to use the phone. The scheme has 14,500 registered users. The trial has been successful with around one emergency text a day requiring attendance by the emergency services for situations such as strokes, heart attacks and childbirth. Ofcom has safeguarded the scheme by making it mandatory for mobile operators to provide it to registered users.

Multi Lingual Phrasebooks and Community Handbooks

The Trust has made copies of the nationally recognised ASA 'Multi Lingual Phrasebooks' (MLPs) available on all NWAS emergency vehicles. These phrasebooks are meant to be used as an additional resource when appropriate to assist with communication needs with community groups and individuals. The pocket 'Multi Lingual Phrasebooks' have been widely adopted by ambulance services across the country and are popular amongst ambulance healthcare professionals.

The Trust has also made pocket versions of the community handbooks 'Working with Diverse Communities' available on all NWAS emergency vehicles. This assists healthcare professionals to further understand the ever changing cultural and religious requirements of different community groups in the North West.

Language Line

There are many different black and minority ethnic communities living in the North West and the Trust tries to ensure written and verbal communication reflects the communities it is being aimed at. If written translation is appropriate, there are interpretation providers that the Trust access through local authority offices or specialist services in this area.

Where verbal translation is required, this is accessed by NWAS using 'Language Line' services. This is a free service and is normally accessed on behalf of patients by our call centre operatives working in the Trust's emergency and PTS control centres.