Agenda and minutes

Joint Health Scrutiny Accountability Session - West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, Healthy Staffordshire Select Committee
Monday, 23rd July, 2018 5.00 pm

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Mandy Pattinson  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Additional documents:


The Chairman declared an interest in this item as a relative was training to be a Paramedic with the West Midlands Ambulance Service.  He remained in the room and took part in the discussion.


West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust Self Assessment Report (30 minutes) pdf icon PDF 210 KB

Report of the Chief Executive, West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust


(Members and the public are invited to submit written questions by 5pm on Friday 13th July 2018 to

Additional documents:


Anthony Marsh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Mark Docherty, Director of Clinical Commissioning and Service Development (DCCSD) attended the meeting to represent the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS).


The CEO gave a presentation covering the main issues facing the service and the performance both for the West Midlands region and specifically for Staffordshire.  The Trusts Vision, Strategic Objectives, Priorities and Values were outlined.  The Trust was the top performing ambulance service in the country and had the second lowest cost base.  The Trust was running at 100% staffing levels with no agency staff employed.  The WMAS was the only ambulance service in the country to be rated ‘Outstanding’ and in a report due to be published by Lord Carter later that week, they were the most productive service nationally.


The CEO informed the Select Committee that there were no vacancies for Paramedics and the Trust had the lowest level of staff sickness in the county.  The Trust was training 300 paramedics this year and 100% of the ambulances were manned with a Paramedic.  Training was important to the Trust and where staff missed sessions due to long term sickness or maternity leave, this was always rescheduled on their return.


The Trust continues to prepare for major incidents such as those seen at the Manchester arena or in Salisbury, but also more regional activity such as winter planning and the Community Defib Vanguard (discussed later in the meeting).


The Trust had exceeded all the national targets with the exception of one which was missed by 8 seconds.


The new Electronic Patient Record system was described and the link and transfer of data between the ambulance service and hospitals explained.  The data collected by the paramedics can be sent to hospitals/treatment centres before patients arrive which ensured quicker and more efficient information sharing and diagnosis.



Questions from the public (30 minutes)

Additional documents:




Questions from Health Scrutiny Committee Members (45 minutes)

Additional documents:


A Member asked if a fathers training was rearranged/considered if they were on paternity leave in the same way as a woman’s was if on maternity.  The CEO explained that the training of all staff was a priority and would be rescheduled in the same way as those who had been on longer term sick leave.


The question of personal risk was highlighted and the Trust was asked what was done to ensure staff remained safe and well.  The CEO explained that the job by its very nature was high risk, for example, patients fall or need to be carried which can put staff at risk of personal injury.  However, the Trust carried out refresher training course on how to use equipment properly and have also recently invested in bariatric supports to provide additional lifting support to staff.  This of course helped both staff and patient.


A question was asked on support given to staff who suffer either verbal or physical abuse whilst carrying out their jobs.  The CEO was clear that he would not tolerate abuse of any kind to staff and worked with the police to prosecute anyone who wilfully abused staff.  Recently a number of custodial sentences had been secured but in the CEO opinion these were not enough or for long enough sentencing periods.  There was a Government Bill going through Parliament which aims at protecting emergency service staff further.  Staff were also offered a range of support from training on how to deal with violence or aggression, to support and counselling if they were involved in incidents which could leave them with Mental Health issues.  The Trust was due to take part in a pilot involving body cameras. It was hoped that this would firstly at as a deterrent and decrease the number of incidence but also increase the evidence which would lead to a higher number of successful prosecutions.  Following a separate question on midwifery training, the CEO informed Members that all Paramedics were trained and regularly updated in midwifery and also had support from emergency doctors on call and specialist control centre staff.


A Member of the Committee asked about the Trusts financial position and what financial risks where envisaged which may jeopardise the Trusts success. The CEO responded to explain that finance was a challenge but each year the Trust managed to exceed their targets.  Over the past few years they had saved circa £50m.


A question was asked regarding Dementia patients and if the Ambulance staff knew in advance that this is what they would be encountering.  This was followed by a question on the challenges that different age groups brought and how were staff equipped to deal with them. The CEO explained that it was a challenging demographic population but the Trust was endeavouring to change its services to meet local needs.  It constantly reviewed its training needs and had increased the level of mandatory dementia training.


There was a question on dementia services and whether the Trust had signed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.


Summary and way forward (5 minutes)

Additional documents:


The Chairman thanked the Trust for attending the meeting and congratulated them for leading such a highly efficient and well performing organisation.