In recent years, the NAS has embarked on a strategic investment programme to develop a modern, quality service that is safe, responsive and fit for purpose. The service is implementing a significant reform agenda which mirrors many of the strategic changes underway in ambulance services internationally as they strive for high performance and efficiency whilst coping with a continuously increasing demand on services. This is in line with the recommendations of the Department of Health’s (DoH) strategic framework, Future Health, A Strategic Framework for Reform of the Health Service 2012 – 2015 to ensure a clinically driven, nationally co-ordinated system, supported by improved technology.
Major reviews of the service were undertaken or commissioned during 2014. Two of these reviews were completed in 2014. These were an internal HSE review to support performance improvement and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) review of pre-hospital emergency care services in Ireland, published in December 2014. The priority items from the HIQA review are being progressed.
Two further reviews were completed during 2015. These include the first ever National Capacity Review of pre-hospital emergency care services in Ireland and a review of the provision of pre-hospital emergency care services in Dublin.
In order to merge together the outcomes from the various reviews, a single cohesive strategic plan for ambulance services is being developed called Vision2020. This will set out all the actions necessary to implement the various recommendations and to address the range of other demands and changes facing the ambulance service. While the reviews are fundamental there are other key strategic impacts on ambulance services including for example the national clinical programmes and the strategic plans for hospital groups. Vision2020 will pull all of these together into a single plan for the service to ensure a clear direction for ambulance services.
The development of Vision2020 is being overseen by a steering group comprising of representatives of Ambulance Services, Hospital Care division, Health and Well Being division, Primary Care division, Quality Improvement division and the HSE’s System Reform Programme. A patient representative is also joining this group.