First year as an FT big success for NEAS
Landmark 12-months for ambulance service
The North East Ambulance Service has crammed a lot into its
first 12-months since taking on a new status within the NHS.
One of the core principles of NHS Foundation Trusts is listening
and meeting the people who we serve - and we've certainly been
doing that across the length and breadth of the North East.
Historically, the ambulance service doesn't crow or brag about
what it does. It prefers to let the results speak for
Putting our modesty to one side, we'd like to tell you about
some of the terrific achievements over the last 12-months as an NHS
Three months after gaining FT status, NEAS was awarded - in
conjunction with Northern Doctors Ltd - a £45 million contract to
roll out the non-urgent NHS 111 call service across the North
This was testimony to the pioneering work of NEAS, who piloted
the service in County Durham and Darlington. Work which is now
being replicated around the country.
In March, we were again in the national spotlight. This time
collecting an NHS award for a scheme aimed at reducing the strain
on the NHS of people who were at risk of being injured by a
Like all good ideas it was really simple. Get a variety of
agencies to pool their knowledge of people who might be at risk of
a fall, and take measures to minimise the event happening.
By working with local authorities, care providers and other
health bodies, our Falls Scheme should go some way to tackling a
situation which costs the NHS billions of pounds every year.
Not everyone knows that NEAS has a Research and Development
department. As the name suggests, the department focuses on looking
at new ways to offer the people we serve the best possible care and
We are proud to be one of the most proactive research trusts in
England, with currently three on-going trials. The ATLANTIC trial
has recruited 35 patients to date, more than any other ambulance
service in the UK - contributing to over 50% of the total
recruitment in the country.
NEAS has successfully recruited paramedics into research posts
providing excellent development opportunities for our staff.
2012 was, of course, a big year for the whole of Britain. Most
notably because of the Queen's Golden Jubilee and the London 2012
Olympics. On both of these national occasions, NEAS was heavily
involved; sending staff and vehicles to ensure spectators had the
best possible care at hand.
Unlike the Golden Jubilee and the Olympics, not all events can
be planned. Our region suffered two ferocious storms during the
summer of 2012, causing travel chaos and damage to property.
Motorists were stranded, while residents had to be evacuated.
Across the North East, NEAS crews and operational staff rose to the
challenge. As first year's go, it really could not have been more
dramatic or memorable.
People are at the centre of everything we do. Over the last
12-months we have travelled far and wide across the region,
inviting those who live in the North East to tell us what they like
and don't like about the service.
Feedback is priceless to us. It helps us develop.
In 2012 we began a major review of our structure, aimed at
maximising our ability to maintain the high standards we have set
ourselves for many years to come.
As everyone knows, financially, most individuals and
institutions find themselves in challenging times. Yet NEAS is
strong. NEAS delivered £4.6million of the cost improvement
programme in 2011/12 helping to ensure financial balance and
deliver the required surplus to enable investment in future
While patients will always be our number one priority, none of
this would be possible without the dedicated souls who make NEAS
tick 24/7, come wind, rain or snow.
As such, we decided in 2012 to launch the inaugural Staff
Recognition Awards, alongside our existing Long Service Awards
During the evening, staff from all areas of the service were
honoured for outstanding achievements during the past 12-months.
These included a crew who helped a patient escape from a house
moments before it was destroyed by a gas explosion, to a call
centre manager who radiates calm. Whatever the crisis.
An approach he and the rest of NEAS will carry on into 2013.