Investing in future of Scottish Ambulance Service

 Monday 16 February 2015

£2m funding to support delivery of vision

An additional £2 million of Scottish Government funding is to be invested in the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) next financial year, to take forward developments to the service that will improve patient care.

The extra funding, for 2015-16, will be used to help the ambulance service deliver their refreshed strategy, Towards 2020: Taking Care to the Patient, that will support the overall vision for the health service to provide more care to patients at home or in the community and help to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

To achieve this, more investment will be targeted at developing the clinical skills of the current ambulance service workforce to operate to the full scope of their practice, as well creating new roles with enhanced skill sets.

Health Secretary Shona Robison announced the allocation of this funding, which forms part of the additional health consequentials confirmed by the Deputy First Minister in October.

Ms Robison said: “The Scottish Ambulance Service play a vital role in the delivery of NHS care for patients, often being the first to attend to a patient who is unwell. They have a key part to play in this Government’s vision for a health service that works around the needs of a patient and delivers the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

“That is why we are supporting the vision set out in this strategy with this additional funding which will help accelerate the pace of change and mean patients will start to benefit sooner. I know how committed and dedicated ambulance staff are to delivering high quality patient care day in and day out, and it is important we ensure they are equipped with the appropriate skills, training and clinical support to be able to deliver more care in the community.

“Our vision for a health service that meets the changing needs of our population, also needs our local services to evolve. With this vision, and investment, the ambulance service will be better prepared to meet the needs and the challenges of the future, working with local services.”

Over the course of the five-year strategy, the SAS aims to decrease A&E attendances by around 12 per cent by taking high quality care to people in the community and bringing those who need it directly to specialist care, rather than having to be admitted through emergency departments.
It also outlines plans to take forward investment in new technology to enhance diagnostic capacity and clinical decision support to frontline staff, as well as making further improvements to pre-hospital cardiac care by leading a national programme of improvement for out of hospital cardiac arrest.

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive, Scottish Ambulance Service said: “Our strategy recognises the principle that care should be appropriate to need, so we will continue to respond rapidly to serious emergencies while developing care pathways that are integrated with other health and social services in local communities to enable patients to be treated safely at home or in their community when appropriate. Last year over 77,000 patients avoided attendance at A&E after being treating safely at home by our teams and we continued to improve cardiac arrest survival rates.
 
“Our strategy is supported by a programme to develop our staff to meet the changing needs of patients within the new landscape of integrated health and social care in Scotland.”

Background

Towards 2020: Taking Care to the Patient, A Strategic Framework for 2015-2020, is available at: http://www.scottishambulance.com/UserFiles/file/TheService/Publications/Strategic%20Plan_Online%20pdf.pdf

The Scottish Ambulance Service receives 99 per cent of its funding from the Scottish Government. In 2015/16 their revenue budget will be £212 million, and the capital budget will be £10 million. This is an increase of 1 per cent on last year.

The Scottish Ambulance Service responds to around 850,000 calls for assistance each year and attends nearly 700,000 emergency and unscheduled incidents. Of these over 500,000 are ‘999’ emergencies.