National Programme

The AACE’s National Programme is comprised of ten national groups and their respective work plans, and a number of other projects that are being progressed by AACE with input from the national groups as required.


Outlined below are the Strategic Priorities identified for progression for 2020 – 2023.

The full Strategy document is available here.

These priorities have been developed by AACE in conjunction with chief executives and chairs, and have been informed by priority areas identified in individual ambulance services.

They are intended to capture areas of focus for the AACE central team as well as the national director groups and sub-groups, who will develop their plans for 2020-23 on the basis of these priorities.

The priority area headings do not directly align with national director groups or sub-groups, and the priorities should subsequently be viewed in their entirety by national groups in the first instance to determine what is of relevance for their group’s respective area of focus.


We have identified three high-level strategic priority areas for the coming three years following consultation with our member trusts, as well as discussions with external stakeholders:

1. Providers of Choice

  • Aspiration: the public view ambulance services as a reliable, high-quality service provider when they have an urgent or emergency healthcare need.

We are committed to supporting continuous advancement in all areas of ambulance service activity and business and nurturing learning organisations that share best practice to improve care delivery. This includes clinical development, in relation to physical and mental health, operational transformation, and digital modernisation with patients as the ultimate beneficiary. Ambulance services work on a regional basis and patients are not able to ‘choose’ their preferred provider, however, striving to be the preferred provider – in terms of quality, effectiveness and efficiency – is fundamental to our work. Sharing best practice and learning from each other is a central element of this.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented the ambulance service, alongside other health and social care providers and emergency services, with an unprecedented, sustained and substantial challenge. Ambulance services have worked tirelessly throughout the first and second waves at regional levels and, through AACE, collectively and constructively to simultaneously deliver a cohesive national response. More effective ways of working have been introduced in relation to some elements of care delivery and organisational approaches, which we have sought to maintain where there is clear, demonstrable benefit for patients and employees.

2. Employers of Choice


  • Aspiration: people view ambulance services as organisations of which they are proud and would wish to work for.

People are integral to and at the very heart of the services we provide to patients. It is essential that the sector has a sufficient number of well-educated and trained, well-equipped, well-led and well-supported staff to meet the care needs of the population we serve. Becoming a preferred employer is intrinsically linked to the sector becoming a preferred provider.

Key areas of focus in our quest to become a preferred employer include tackling racism at all levels across the sector, putting equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of all we do, leading compassionately and developing compassionate leaders, and prioritising the mental health and wellbeing of employees. Strong operational and clinical leadership is essential and ensuring a sufficient workforce pipeline for registered and non-registered clinical roles.

3. Partners of Choice

  • Aspiration: systems view the ambulance service as a key partner or leader in the collaborative delivery of urgent and emergency care.

The ambulance sector has traditionally been the statutory provider of 999 emergency medical services and, as such, has been strongly affiliated with police and fire and within health, primarily emergency departments. Its focus has increasingly moved into the realm of urgent and emergency care provision, however, with eight out of eleven English and Welsh trusts providing some 111 services, four of which provide all 111 services within their respective region. Eight out of ten English and Welsh trusts also undertake some or all of the patient transport service provision within their region. Provision of 111 services – or their equivalent – and patient transport services is also undertaken by ambulance services in other devolved nations.

In the fluid and ever-evolving world of health and social care in England, as well as in devolved nations, working collaboratively alongside other partners is becoming increasingly important for the ambulance sector. In England, engagement and liaison with regional NHS England and NHS Improvement teams, as well as strategic transformation partnerships, integrated care partnerships and primary care networks at a more local level, is imperative if ambulance services are to contribute meaningfully to system-level improvements in patient care.

Given its regional status, the ambulance service also has a unique system-leadership role to play at regional and system levels whilst at the same time ensuring that services are tailored to local authority/borough at a place level and local communities at a neighbourhood level too.

Our three strategic priorities are not standalone; they are all inter-related with progress in one area invariably contributing to progress within the others. We would not seek to support or endorse activity within one that would be of detriment to another, whilst activity undertaken in each priority area is always considered in the context of the others.

Download a PDF version of our Strategy 2020-23 document here.

View the AACE’s National Workstreams here.