Blackpool CCG leads on the commissioning of ambulance services on behalf of the 33 Clinical Commissioning Groups across the North West. This was a role previously undertaken by Blackpool Primary Care Trust.
There are two distinct types of ambulance service provision:-
- Paramedic Emergency Services (PES) – the “blue light” 999 service and urgent conveyance to hospital
- Patient Transport Services (PTS) – for taking non-emergency patients to and from hospital
Paramedic Emergency Services (PES)
Paramedic Emergency Services is the “blue light” service responding to 999 calls across the North West. Across the country there are 11 Ambulance Trusts (including the Isle of Wight). Emergency Ambulance Services in the North West are provided by the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS).
The Trust was established on 1 July 2006, by the merger of ambulance trusts from Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire and employs over 5,200 staff.
The area covered by NWAS is the largest in terms of geography, covering an area of 5400 square miles and serving a population of 7.14 million people. It is the second largest after London in terms of activity. Each year NWAS receive around 1.2 million 999 emergency calls and respond to more than 900,000 incidents across the North West.
999 Emergency Ambulance calls are prioritised into “immediately life threatening” and “serious, but not immediately life threatening”. Calls are further prioritised within these headings to properly recognise the acuity of calls.
There are two important targets in place for Ambulance Services that form part of information reported at a national level. These require that 75% of patients who have an “immediately life threatening condition” are provided with an emergency response at scene within eight minutes of the call connecting to the ambulance call centre. This is known as the Category A8 target. On a typical day NWAS will receive around 3,300 “999” calls with around 1,100 of these being classed as “immediately life threatening”.
A second target requires that 95% of patients receive an ambulance vehicle, which is capable of conveying a patient to hospital, at scene within 19 minutes. This is known as the Category A19 target.
In regard to the targets described above, NWAS are one of the highest performing Ambulance Trusts in the country, exceeding the 75% eight minute target and achieving the 95% 19 minute target.
Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART)
As part of the emergency response provision, NWAS also have two Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART). These teams form part of the NHS response to support the National Capabilities Programme being led by the Home Office. This programme aims to ensure that fewer lives would be risked or lost in the event of a terrorist CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear) incident or an accidental release of hazardous materials.
NWAS HART teams account for two of the 15 teams across England. The teams are based in Manchester and Liverpool working alongside teams across the rest of the country. The locations of the teams were selected to support the resilience and capability requirements identified by the Home Office to ensure a comprehensive coverage of the country with rapid response times whilst taking account of areas of high population density.
The national HART strategy is overseen by the National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) on behalf of the Department of Health.
Patient Transport Services (PTS)
Patient Transport Services (PTS) are commissioned on behalf of patients with a medical need for transport (otherwise known as eligible patients) to and from NHS funded healthcare facilities. PTS is typified as being non-urgent planned transport in contrast with the emergency blue light service. In total there are around 1.9 million PTS journeys that take place across the North West each year.
Across the North West, PTS services have been tendered to provide safe, timely and reliable high quality transportation of patients attending treatment centres for non-emergency appointments. The North West was split into the 5 sub-regional areas of Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester to allow this to take place.
Following the tendering, there are now 5 PTS contracts in place. North West Ambulance Service provides PTS transport in Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire & Merseyside and Arriva Transport Solutions provide the PTS transport across the Greater Manchester area.
Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group role
Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group’s role is to provide effective contract and performance management of both the Emergency and Patient Transport contracts. This is a role carried out on the behalf of the 33 Clinical Commissioning Groups to ensure that both North West Ambulance Service and Arriva Transport Solutions Limited provide safe, high quality, effective services for the people of the North West.
Further information on the services provided specifically by North West Ambulance Service or Arriva Transport Solutions Limited can be accessed using the following web links:-