Ambulance services provide a valuable, life-saving service that is held in high regard and plays a vital role in the entire urgent and emergency care system. Since this Committee last examined ambulance services in 2011: funding increases for the urgent and emergency services provided by ambulance trusts have not kept up with increasing demand; ambulance trusts increasingly struggle to meet response-time targets, despite focussing on these targets to the detriment of wider performance; and significant variations between trusts, in both operational and financial performance, persist or have got worse as insufficient work has been done to understand and reduce variation. Action is being taken by NHS England, NHS Improvement and ambulance trusts to address the performance and long-term sustainability of the ambulance services but it has taken too long to begin addressing the issues identified by this Committee in 2011. We recognise ambulance services and national bodies are inherently reliant on the rest of the health system to deliver new care models and services outside of hospital in order to support a more sustainable ambulance service.
25 April 2017