Ambulance culture review

Mar 21, 2024 | Members e-Bulletin, Stakeholder eBulletin

An independent review, commissioned by NHS England, has been published to support the improvement of the culture within the ambulance service.

This follows the National Guardian’s Office (NGO) report  published in February 2023, which found that the culture in ambulance trusts was having a negative impact on workers’ ability to speak up, impacting worker wellbeing and patient safety.

NHS England commissioned this independent review in May 2023, chaired by Siobhan Melia, CEO, Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

It considers the main factors impacting on the culture and offers six actionable recommendations for improvement:

  1. Balance operational performance with people performance at all levels.
  2. Focus on leadership and management culture and develop the ambulance workforce.
  3. Improve the operational environment, line management and undergraduate training.
  4. Translate the EDI Improvement Plan into a bespoke plan for the sector.
  5. Target bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment and enable freedom to speak up.
  6. Prioritise, support and develop HR&OD functions.

In her time as Interim CEO at Southeast Coast Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust, review chair Siobhan Melia, experienced both the vital work undertaken by ambulance services as well as the deep-rooted cultural issues. She says:

“I had the privilege of spending time on the frontline to truly experience the complexities of the day-to-day pressures, and heard stories from many colleagues about their commitment, passion and pride at working in the ambulance sector.

“That is why I was pleased to chair and undertake this review, focusing on identifying solutions that will make the biggest difference. My commitment has always been for us to collectively identify a set of recommendations and actions that over time, we think will positively impact on the culture and lived experience of the people working in ambulance trusts.”

NHS England, ICBs and ambulance trusts will now be working together at pace to implement the recommendations.