Edge Hill University Business School is celebrating the recognition of one of its staff, Professor Paresh Wankhade, in a recently launched national review of ambulance performance targets.

The independent ‘Amber Review’ was commissioned by the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services in May 2018 into the “amber” category of calls made to the ambulance service in Wales. “Amber” calls are those categorised as “serious but not immediately life threatening”.  Such calls represent the majority of the almost half a million emergency calls made to the Welsh Ambulance Service each year.

Professor Wankhade was invited to join the Expert Reference group to the Review team for his internationally recognised expertise in ambulance performance management challenges. His role expanded to that of the ‘adviser and lead reviewer’ to the report and was included as part of the review team and is in further discussions about some follow-up work from the Review.

Amber Review, which was published this month, assesses an important aspect of the traffic light system for assessing the urgency of emergency calls in use in Wales since 2015.  It concluded that the ambulance service is getting to the sickest patients first, but has identified a number of areas where NHS Wales can work collaboratively to provide a more timely and effective response to patients.

Amber Review recommendations:

  • Measures of quality and response time should continue to be published although they need to reflect the patient’s whole episode of care
  • Measures should be developed in collaboration with patients
  • There should be a programme of engagement to ensure clarity on the role of emergency ambulance services and how calls are prioritised and categorised
  • NHS services in Wales must improve and simplify their offering of alternative services
  • There must be sufficient numbers of clinicians in the contact centres to ensure patients receive the most appropriate level of care
  • The ambulance service must ensure that planned resources are sufficient to meet expected demand
  • The ambulance service must deliver against it planned resource
  • Health Boards must take appropriate actions to ensure that lost hours for ambulances outside hospitals reduce
  • The longest waits for patients in the community must be reduced

The Review was also discussed in the National Assembly for Wales with a statement from the Cabinet Secretary followed by Q & A session with other Assembly Members (Item 3, para 125-para 183)

Professor Wankhade said:

“It is a great honour to be part of this important review of ambulance performance in Wales. The report has looked at the evidence from the clinical response models being used in Wales and has not recommended setting a target for responding to the ‘amber’ category of calls made to the ambulance services. I have been a strong advocate of moving away from response time targets to a more outcome based approach. The amber review is a bold step forward in setting the agenda for dealing with such calls in other countries in the UK.”

Professor Paresh Wankhade leads the UK’s first Professional Doctorate in Emergency Services Management. His full profile is available here. For his latest blog on the winter crisis and impact on ambulance services, please see this link.