Professor Paresh Wankhade has been invited to serve on the Welsh Ministerial Ambulance Availability Taskforce (MAAT) and will provide key inputs on how to improve the ambulance service in Wales.
Over the next twelve months, the taskforce will consider evidence with the aim of introducing alternative routes and finding community-based solutions to prevent unnecessary patient transfers to emergency departments. It is hoped that this will optimise the ambulance handover process and ultimately improve the response to life threatening emergency calls.
Professor Wankhade said: “It’s a great honour to have been chosen to serve on the taskforce and play a role in improving the ambulance service in Wales, especially at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is putting pressure on ambulance services all over the UK with new safety measures and a huge increase in demand.”
Paresh added: “My main focus when looking at the taskforce’s evidence will be on the usefulness of response times as a target for ambulance crews and whether they actually improve outcomes for patients. The current target is to reach all life-threatening calls within eight minutes but given the huge range of factors that can affect this it’s not always a realistic or useful target, and can lead to perverse consequences as my previous research has suggested.
“I also want to look at how ambulances are used and whether being more selective about which emergency calls they respond to can improve ambulance capacity, meaning that more serious calls get given higher priority and can be responded to faster.”
Professor Wankhade is an internationally recognised expert in Emergency Services Management and previously served as adviser and lead reviewer of the 2018 Amber Review of the Welsh Ambulance Service which looked specifically at non-urgent emergency calls which are labelled ‘Amber’.
This new taskforce was formed in part to follow up on the findings of the review which concluded that the ambulance service is getting to the sickest patients first, but also identified a number of areas where NHS Wales can work collaboratively to provide a more timely and effective response to patients. Progress has been made against these recommendations, but the Welsh Government believes more work is needed to make the necessary improvements in ambulance delivery.
The taskforce is jointly chaired by the Chief Commissioner of Ambulance Services and the National Director for Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) Wales, with membership from relevant leaders from across the health and social care system.
Paresh Wankhade is the Professor of Leadership and Management at Edge Hill University Business School. He is also the Director of Research and the Programme Leader for the new Professional Doctorate in Emergency Services Management.