Patient Safety logo

Patient Safety Day 2020

Today is World Patient Safety Day, which this year has a focus on the importance of health worker safety.

Keeping our frontline staff safe means they are available to answer your call and treat you.

Here are just some of the ways we’re keeping our staff and patients safe:

A focus on assaults


We have a zero-tolerance approach to assaults. Our staff are here to help the public; they are not here to be assaulted. We will always support them to prosecute those who choose to hurt them in the line of duty.

As well as impacting our staff mentally, they can also have a physical impact. Between April 2017 and October 2019, our service lost 411 days to staff sickness at a cost of £141,824 in overtime costs to cover missed shifts following an assault.

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to support our staff, including:

  • Flagging addresses where there is a known risk
  • Working with our police colleagues to ensure we’re working together as a team to protect staff and bring those who choose to attack them to justice
  • Supporting staff through the court process
  • Ensuring staff have the right training to be able to help themselves on scene, such as breakaway and conflict resolution training

A safe environment to work in


The nature of our service is unpredictable and, at times, dangerous. It’s therefore important that our staff have all the right kit they require to keep themselves, their colleagues and you safe.

This is particularly important in light of Covid-19, and we are ensuring all staff wear the appropriate personal protective equipment when required to reduce contamination.

Additional measures include:

  • Personal issue masks for all operational staff
  • Desk screens to support staff working in the Emergency Operations Centre
  • We introduced swabbing early in the pandemic to ensure all staff and their families had access to covid tests
  • Additional vehicle cleaning procedures to reduce cross-contamination
  • New one-way systems in our buildings and the introduction of temperature sensors to ensure all staff entering our buildings are well enough to be there

Looking after staff health


We have an in-house Occupational Health team to look after the health and wellbeing of our staff.

This includes providing vaccinations, including the flu jab, and providing access to counselling services.

Moving and handling support


We launched our Evacuation Team earlier this year, a specialist moving team, to support patients with complex moving needs. As well as providing a responsive service to our patients, this team ensures our staff are not put at risk of injury.

We have invested £350,000 into a 12-month trial and have a team of specially-trained staff operating from two specially-adapted vehicles.

As well as supporting live incidents, such as bariatric patients and patients who have fallen in hard to reach areas around the home or who are uninjured but require assistance from the floor, the team also provide risk assessments for pre-planned admissions, transfers or discharges to ensure the right resources are sent to take the patient into hospital.

Since launching in February, the team has supported more than 700 patients.

Learning from incidents 


Being open and honest about mistakes means that we can learn valuable lessons so that the same errors are not repeated. 

We have robust processes in place to ensure staff and patients feel able to report when things go wrong and that they know they will be treated fairly.

Some recent examples of changes we have implemented as a result of patient feedback include:

  • Integrating ‘what3words’ into our systems so that we can accurately pinpoint the location of any caller who has the application to within three metres.
  • Recruited more clinicians and GPs to maximise availability for patient call-backs
  • Changing the questions we ask when taking patient bookings to ensure we better understand a patient’s needs to help us arrange for the most appropriate crew to attend

Share this page

Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

Back to top

Enable Recite