Who we are and what we do
About North East Ambulance Service
The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) operates across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Darlington and Teesside. We provide an Emergency Care Service to respond to 999 calls, and a Patient Transport Service (PTS) which provides pre-planned non-emergency transport for patients in the region.
Since 2013 we have delivered the NHS 111 service for the region to provide urgent medical help and advice, and we have been able to demonstrate how this service can run alongside the 999 service to provide a seamless access point for patients.
The Emergency Care, 111 and Patient Transport Services are supported by the Trust's Emergency Operations Centres based at Newburn Riverside and Hebburn, which manage in excess of 1.5 million calls per annum.
We also deliver specialist response services through our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART). HART units are made up of specially trained paramedics who deal with major incidents. Our front line services are delivered from 61 stations across the North East region.
We became a Foundation Trust in November 2011 and are one of ten ambulance services in England, covering an area of around 3,230 square miles. We serve a population of more than 2.71 million people and employ more than 2,500 staff including our valued volunteers.
Volunteer porters, ambulance car service drivers and community first responders invest thousands of hours in the service every year. They provide invaluable support to our patients, from helping patients to reach their appointments through to providing essential life support in the most serious of cases. Find out more about how you can become a volunteer here.
The Trust also works closely with a number of voluntary organisations, such as St. John's Ambulance Service and the British Red Cross.
NEAS also provides first aid training on a commercial basis to organisations in the public and private sector.
You can find out more about all of these aspects of our work by exploring the website.
Our mission is to provide safe, effective and responsive care for all, and our vision is to deliver unmatched quality of care every time we touch lives. Even in the most challenging situations we strive to perform to the highest professional standards in a spirit of collaboration and team work. Caring for and treating more patients closer to home is at the heart of our plans, and our committed, compassionate and caring staff are critical to our success.
The Trust forms an integral part of the health service across the North East and works closely with many NHS partners to ensure services for patients are joined-up and as effective as possible. Our local partners include 8 acute hospital trusts, 2 mental health trusts, 12 local unitary authorities, police and fire services and voluntary agencies.
The majority of our services are commissioned by 10 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the region, in conjunction with the North of England Commissioning Support unit (NECs). CCGs are clinically led statutory NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of healthcare services for their local area.
We also work closely with NHS England, whose main role is to set the priorities and direction of the NHS and to improve health and care outcomes for people in England.
We work very closely with Health Education North East in the development of new training programmes, including for our Advanced Practitioners, enabling us to offer enhanced care for our patients.
The Trust has long established relationships with local authorities’ overview and scrutiny committees in the North East and meets with them regularly. Overview and scrutiny committees are dedicated to scrutinising local NHS policy, planning, and impact against local needs and inequalities. Each health overview and scrutiny committee devises a work programme which may call for reports on any aspect of local NHS activity so that it can hold both commissioners and providers to account.
We also work closely with local health and well-being boards, which are forums for local commissioners across the NHS, social care, public health and other services to meet together with local authorities to set priorities and make strategic decisions about health provision.
We have good relationships with our regional universities, including undertaking joint research and development. We work very closely with Teesside University which offer two paramedic courses in the region. We are also delighted to be partnering with Sunderland University to launch a new two year Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Practice in 2016.
We have piloted a successful co-responding approach with our regional fire and rescue service colleagues. This has provided improved timely responsiveness to our patients, and enhanced our ability to jointly provide care.
The Trust, Northumbria Police, Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary hold regular meetings at a strategic, tactical and operational level working on various initiatives. This includes delivery of the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP) which is focused on ensuring that the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services are able to work together effectively when responding to major multi-agency incidents.
We work in partnership with local organisations to promote health and well-being within the region. In 2015, for example, we worked closely with Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, to educate the public on the effects of alcohol on our service. This highlighted the impact on our ability to respond to other patients, as well as the high instances of verbal and physical abuse encountered by our staff. The campaign received significant national and local media coverage and formed an important part of our public education agenda. We have also worked with local media to highlight both the medical dangers of using legal highs and the impact that they have had on our service over the last year.
How we are Monitored
As detailed above, the majority of our services are commissioned by 10 local CCGs, and as such we are accountable to them for our performance and the delivery of safe, effective and responsive care. We attend regular meetings with the CCGs to monitor our performance. Additionally, we also attend Overview and Scrutiny Committees, as described earlier, along with local Healthwatch meetings.
NHS Improvement is responsible for overseeing NHS foundation trusts and trusts, as well as independent providers that provide NHS-funded care. It offers the support providers need to give patients consistently safe, high quality, compassionate care within local health systems that are financially sustainable. By holding providers to account and, where necessary, intervening, it helps the NHS to meet its short-term challenges and secure its future.
From 1 April 2016, NHS Improvement is the operational name for the organisation that brings together:
- NHS Trust Development Authority;
- Patient Safety, including the National Reporting and Learning System;
- Advancing Change Team; and
- Intensive Support Team.
NHS Improvement will build on the best of what these organisations did, but with a change of emphasis. Its priority is to offer support to providers and local health systems to help them improve. It will provide strategic leadership and practical help to the NHS sector, supporting and holding providers to account to achieve a single definition of success.
To achieve this, it:
- works closely alongside providers;
- works with national partners to create the conditions for providers to flourish; and
- is developing a single definition of success.
It also holds trust Boards to account, and seeks assurance that trusts’ license conditions are being met.
We liaise closely with NHS Improvement during the year, submitting monthly financial returns and quarterly finance and governance returns. We are also required to prepare and submit a number of returns on an annual basis, including our annual plan, annual report and accounts, Quality Report and a number of governance statements.
Care Quality Commission (CQC)
The CQC is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England. All provider organisations need to register with the CQC and are then inspected by it to ensure the care provided is safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality.
The CQC’s website contains information about all registered providers, the latest inspection reports and any requirements for improvement.
NEAS does not currently have a rating under the CQC’s new inspection regime. Under the CQC’s previous regime, the Trust was inspected in February 2014. An action plan was put in place to deal with the shortfalls identified, which was closed out in agreement with the CQC in May 2015. The Trust was inspected under the new regime between 18th and 22nd April 2016 and the report will be made available on the CQC's website in due course.
Board Register of Interests
The Trust Board can confirm that it maintains a register of interest and the current version can be found here.
The Trust confirms that it has applied Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: Regulation 5: Fit and Proper Persons (Directors). The purpose of the Regulation is to ensure that all Board level appointments of NHS bodies carrying out a regulated activity are fit and proper to carry out the role of overseeing the quality and safety of care provided by the body. This means that Board Members should be of good character, have the required skills, experience and knowledge and that their health enables them to fulfil the management function. None of the criteria of unfitness should apply, which include bankruptcy, sequestration and insolvency, appearing on barred lists and being prohibited from holding directorships under other laws. Board Members should not have been involved or complicit in any serious misconduct, mismanagement or failure of care in carrying out a regulated activity.
Rigorous checks are carried out during recruitment and appointment, and on-going compliance is assessed annually.