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Ambulance service

The 12 NHS ambulance service trusts in England and one in Wales are the first, and often the most important, contact for over six million 999 callers each year.


It is the first point of access to healthcare for a wide variety of patient conditions, ranging from life-threatening emergencies to chronic illness and social care.


In 2005, the Department of Health published a report of a strategic review of NHS ambulance services in England. This report, Taking healthcare to the patient: Transforming NHS ambulance services recommended that ambulance services should provide and co-ordinate an increasing range of mobile healthcare for patients who need urgent care. There is a growing emphasis on this as a means of healthcare.  


There is potentially a lack of consistency in the equipment, consumables and interior layout of emergency vehicles. These issues may impact on safe systems of work and the efficiency of clinical care and also present a threat to patient safety.           


National Reporting and Learning Service (NRLS) resources relating to ambulance services are listed below.
TitleIssue dateType
Fire hazard with paraffin-based skin products26 November 2007Alert
Future ambulances01 January 2007Guidance
Safe Foundations21 August 2006Toolkit
Manchester Patient Safety Framework (MaPSaF)01 January 2006Guidance
Protecting patients who are neck breathers07 March 2005Alert
Improving infusion device safety20 May 2004Alert