Friday 08 November 2013
Opportunities to improve the Bailiwick's emergency ambulance service have been identified, according to an independent review published today.
The Health and Social Services Department (HSSD) commissioned a full review of the ambulance service, covering corporate governance, operational demands, staffing, clinical skills and corporate strategy. The comprehensive 108-page review, conducted by Lightfoot Solutions, has now been released.
This review follows the approval of a short-term loan facility to St John Ambulance and Rescue Service in 2012, on top of the annual £2.2m grant paid by HSSD to St John. The facility, granted by the Treasury & Resources Department, was conditional on HSSD undertaking a full review of the service and submitting a States Report, with recommendations on the future funding arrangements, level of services, and the agreed repayment plan for the loan. This report is in preparation and will be submitted in the first half of 2014.
The review was commissioned in accordance with States of Guernsey tendering processes, and cost HSSD £102,286.
Deputy Mark Dorey, Health and Social Services Minister, said:
"HSSD recognises the importance of the ambulance service provided by St John, and considers the review as an investment, to ensure that it can continue to provide islanders with good and effective emergency services. The review identifies opportunities for us to develop a sustainable ambulance service, tailored to the needs of the island and integrated into the local health system. HSSD and St John both welcome the review, and have already begun to work together on implementing many of its recommendations."
The in-depth review includes 49 recommendations, touching on every aspect of the service, from the operation of the ambulance control room to the development of more detailed reporting and monitoring arrangements.
HSSD and St John have considered and prioritised all of the recommendations, and have developed a joint action plan in response to the review.
Some recommendations are being acted on immediately, as St John has become involved with the development of the Joint Emergency Services Control Room, led by the Home Department; and stronger governance and clinical frameworks are being introduced within the service. In the spirit of closer cooperation between the two organisations, an HSSD Board member will be in attendance at St John Board meetings, and regular contract monitoring meetings have been put in place at an operational level.
Other recommendations, including those which focus on the closer integration of emergency care services, will take longer to implement and require further consultation internally, and with other organisations involved in the provision of emergency care. HSSD and St John have therefore classed these recommendations as part of their longer-term response to the Review.
Deputy Dorey said:
"The recommendations provide opportunities for St John to reduce its costs and increase its income over the coming years, as well as delivering positive clinical developments in the service, in line with the island's needs.
"The HSSD Board's immediate priority is to be able to assure the States that steps are being taken to ensure the financial sustainability of the ambulance service, and that opportunities to improve service quality are being taken, and we will be reporting back on this in 2014.
"We recognise that it will take time to consult on and develop some of the more complex opportunities, and that some of these will have to happen in tandem with other developments in the health system. However, we are pleased that an action plan has been drawn up and work has already begun on implementing changes."
The report can be found below.