The year included the highs of the Platinum Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth II, followed shortly after by her sad passing. Both big events for the whole of the UK and ambulance services across the country supported each other, especially colleagues in London, to ensure these occasions were sufficiently covered to protect our patients and the public attending.
As we continued to emerge from the impacts of the pandemic, we all experienced one of our most challenging winters yet in terms of demand on services, industrial action, all exacerbated by a tired and stretched workforce, frustrated with our inability to appropriately meet that demand, and provide the highest levels of care to every patient.
Delays at hospitals to handover patients continued to increase in number and length, adversely affecting both patient safety and staff wellbeing. These, and the everyday pressures individuals felt from a developing cost-of-living crisis, were just some of the factors involved in prompting industrial action across the UK.
Our AACE member services faced unprecedented challenges during 2022-23 head on, with an unwavering commitment, whilst continuing to do everything possible to look after our patients, staff and volunteers within these extraordinary times.
That said, throughout the year, we continued to build our credibility as a membership body and AACE endeavoured to lobby and influence key stakeholders, Government and NHS England (NHSE) to recognise the strains our services were under and the impact this was having on patients and staff. We have been front and centre in the Prime Minister and Secretary of State led Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) recovery meetings and were successful in securing more than £200m for ambulance services in England to support the UEC Plan, and £1m to support additional health and wellbeing activities for our people.
We held another extremely successful Ambulance Leadership Forum Conference and have produced guidance, frameworks and other resources to support our members in managing the challenges and implementing new initiatives. AACE also continued to provide extensive bespoke/contracted support to many of our members on a wide range of operational and quality issues throughout the year.
You can read about the many achievements and much more in this report.
Daren Mochrie QAM
Chief Executive, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) and Chair of AACE
Martin Flaherty OBE, QAM
Managing Director of AACE