NHS trust

Modernising infrastructure and plans for AI and robotic automation take focus in London Ambulance Service strategy

London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust has published its strategy for the next five years, with focus on modernising estate and infrastructure; ensuring that staff have access to digital tools to help them do their jobs; and investing in modern ways of working such as using artificial intelligence and robotic automation.

The strategy outlines three key missions across 2023-2028; the first is to deliver “outstanding emergency care whenever and wherever needed”, including provision of individualised clinical responses, strong leadership around major events, and emphasis on being a learning and teaching organisation. The second mission is to be an “increasingly inclusive, well-led and highly skilled organisation” with an improved infrastructure. Finally, LAS pledges to be a system leader and partner, proactive around making the capital healthier and committed to green ideals.

One of the objectives set out under the first mission is for LAS to be a “leading UK ambulance service in providing our clinical staff with outcome data for all patients they treat, linking ambulance and hospital data for a joined-up integrated care system”.

Data use also plays a role in LAS’s aims around tackling health inequalities, with the strategy setting out how the trust will “use our data and reach” to agree on at least two initiatives per year designed to address inequalities alongside NHS partners.

Commitments for the first year of the strategy include improving data quality; agreeing, piloting and implementing a replacement for mobile data terminals; and using data to create a targeted prevention programme for children and young people, which will focus on topics such as what to do in an emergency, substance misuse and violence reduction.

LAS acknowledges that the coming years will see “further acceleration in technological advancements with significant impact on the way that we work.” The trust shares an aim to be at the “forefront of change”, including emphasis on equipping staff with the right data to help them in providing care. Sharing an example of this work, the strategy describes how LAS is developing an app that will allow paramedics to see what happens to their patients after they go into hospital, which “has the potential to hugely improve clinical decision-making for patients”.

Alongside this, the strategy highlights LAS’s commitment to “upgrade systems, link data and automate analysis so we benefit from better insights.” The trust is looking for ways to strengthen provision of care through AI, such as exploring ways in which natural language processing could be used to help LAS staff in doing their jobs “more effectively”.

By 2028, LAS pledges to improve the reliability, quality and interoperability of their critical IT, phone systems and vehicle fleet; to invest and build capabilities in “modern digital working” including robotic automation and AI; and to ensure that “all staff have the right digital tools at their fingertips to do their jobs”. This includes clinicians accessing and sharing information across London and collaborating with each other for referrals, and an ambition for digital maturity to make LAS “the leader among ambulance services in England”.

With regards to becoming green and sustainable for the future, LAS emphasises an ai to reduce annual carbon emissions by five percent, which will be achieved through interventions in digital along with changes in the approach to estates, fleet, logistics and staff engagement.

Moving forwards, LAS will develop a roadmap for the next five years to provide an outline for the planned changes and programmes of work, including a “high-level timeline for delivery”. A digital strategy will form part of this roadmap, with LAS noting the need for some initiatives such as digital transformation and workforce planning requiring enabling strategies and plans.

Read the strategy in full here.

In related news around ambulance care, last week we shared how Yorkshire Ambulance Service is rolling out a new mobile data system underpinned by ordnance survey data in the hopes of improving at-scene response times and ultimately patient care, with nationwide roll-out planned for the future.