Minister Praises Ambulance Services for Response Targets Achievement at ALF 2012

Last week saw the tenth Ambulance Leadership Forum (ALF), hosted for the first time by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE).

Over 175 ambulance leaders from across the UK gathered for the two day conference in Kenilworth which was opened by NHS Chief, Sir David Nicholson.

After a first afternoon of workshops focusing on operational planning and clinical improvements, ambulance leaders enjoyed the inaugural AACE awards dinner honouring outstanding service from 11 staff selected from around the country. Continuing the focus on professionalism and good practice, highlights of Day Two included a new market stall strand showcasing areas of notable practice from six regional ambulance services.

AACE Chairman and London Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Peter Bradley, started the event by praising the recently-created AACE for a wide range of notable achievements in its first year of operation, including: “Contributing significantly to the development and publication of the national ambulance clinical quality indicators and the finalization of the soon-to-be published updated clinical practice guidelines.”

Michael Brooke, Director of Operations of St John New Zealand flew in to present a case study on the enterprise transformation experienced by his service as a result of a partnership with Lightfoot Solutions, one of ALF 2012’s two co-sponsors.

The event’s other sponsor, the NHS National Innovation Centre, chose the event to unveil three new clinical devices developed over two years in close collaboration with frontline staff from a range of ambulance services. NIC Lead Colin Callow commented: “Response from CEOs, senior clinicians and frontline staff was particularly enthusiastic and the feedback we received will positively influence the next stage of development.”

Dr. Richard Lyon, Registrar in Emergency Medicine with London’s Air Ambulance, presented a session on Cardiac Arrest Survival, chaired by Yorkshire Ambulance Chief Dave Whiting. Afterwards Dr. Lyon praised services for the efforts they are making to improve cardiac survival rates, saying: “It was a real privilege to be able to talk to so many UK ambulance leaders and it’s refreshing to know that cardiac arrest survival is high on all their agendas. However, while a lot has been done, there’s still much more we can do to improve overall survival rates.”

Professor Andy Newton, Consultant Paramedic & Director of Clinical Operations at South East Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust, spoke for many attendees, remarking: “I was delighted to attend this year’s Ambulance Leadership Forum, which is growing rapidly and maturing into an event of central importance to the ambulance sector and the paramedic profession.”

Professor Newton added:  “This ‘coming together’ of all UK ambulance services is now developing a wider remit than simply an opportunity for an exchange of ideas and is growing to include the happy task of honouring members of the service who have made a particular contribution to the service and their profession.  The addition of the NIC and other initiatives such as the ‘market place’ further demonstrated the sort of useful trends that will help bridge the gap between, research, evidence and both clinical and operational practice, helping to guide best practice for our organisations and our patients.”

The event closed with Simon Burns, Health Minister for Emergency Care, praising staff from across the ambulance service saying: “So many ambulance staff work incredibly hard every day to save lives, often under extreme pressure and in very challenging situations. We’re all grateful to our local ambulance services which help people in distress at every level – from minor injuries to road accidents and major national incidents.”

Mr Burns also congratulated services for meeting the government’s 75% targets, noting that: “It’s the first time that all trusts have achieved this since new measurement criteria was introduced in April 2008.”

The Minister closed proceedings by thanking Peter Bradley, soon to step down as LAS Chief and National Ambulance Director for the Department of Health before taking up the post of National Director of St John New Zealand, saying: Peter has led on a number of major changes in ambulance provision which have set new standards of excellence, and which are benefitting patients enormously.”