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You Said, We Did

Dignity and Respect Campaign

Dignity and respect means different things to different people. We worked with staff and patients to develop the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Dignity Code which contains six points of important ways in which dignity can be assured. This code also forms part of our Dignity and Respect Campaign to raise awareness of the need to treat patients and service users with dignity and respect.

Service-user feedback which relates to dignity and respect is included in training. A high majority of this feedback shows that the public highly values the care Yorkshire Ambulance Service staff provide.

We also celebrate Dignity in Action day on the 1 February each year by actively demonstrating support and encouraging staff to promote dignity and respect. On 1 February 2014, we celebrated the #hellomynameis Campaign which focused on staff introducing themselves to everyone they meet.

Values-Based Recruitment

At Yorkshire Ambulance Service we are passionate about Values-Based Recruitment and ensuring that we recruit staff with values that fit with our organisation. Candidates are invited to a recruitment selection event which is a two-way process, designed to give candidates an insight into Yorkshire Ambulance Service, whilst giving us the opportunity to get to know candidates. Applicants meet other Trust staff whilst observing and participating in a series of scenarios that reflect daily life within our organisation. If candidates demonstrate what we are looking for, they may be made an offer of employment. Service-user feedback and our Dignity Code form a key part of these events.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Best Practice for Transporting Patients with Guide Dogs

Trainers from Guide Dogs for the Blind visited Yorkshire Ambulance Service to run an awareness session for staff. Staff from our A&E Operations, Patient Transport Service and Health and Safety teams learned about best practice for transporting guide dogs on vehicles, the law about disability rights and anticipating dogs’ behaviour in an unusual or potentially stressful situation.

Key learning points were:

  • In an emergency most guide dog owners will have friends or family members who can look after the dog. But if no one is available, a crew can transport the patient with their dog to hospital.
  • Dogs should travel in a position where they are least likely to slide or move if the vehicle breaks suddenly. This could be by the owner’s feet if they are in a seat in a PTS vehicle, against the bulkhead of an A&E vehicle or in the passenger footwell (as long as they are safely below the height of the airbag).
  • Guide dogs are kept to higher standards of grooming and hygiene than normal pet dogs and there is no reason to refuse transport on hygiene grounds. Vehicles should be cleaned between patient journeys in line with usual procedures.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Team

Guide Dogs for the Blind team (L-R):

Jan and John Welsman, Policy Business Partner, with Breck, Janet Champion, Trainer, with Buddy, Debbie Linford, Community Engagement Officer.

YAS (L-R): Anthony Henderson (student paramedic), Mathew Sims (paramedic), Michelle Cutsforth (PTS team leader), Andy Thorne (ECA) Mandy Morley (PTS team leader), Tracy Ward (ECA), Shelley Jackson (Health & Safety Manager)

The Trust is working with Guide Dogs for the Blind to develop its guidance for guide dogs on Trust vehicles and to raise awareness of key learning throughout the Trust.

Staff Attitudes

Service-user feedback indicates that staff are highly valued by members of the public. Positive comments from surveys and examples of compliment letters received are included in local and Trust-wide communications to share learning and recognise good service. This is a key part of our culture of putting patients at the heart of what we do.

Whilst the vast majority of feedback from service-users is positive about staff, some complaints do highlight poor staff attitude and communication skills. In response to this, we formed a group to look at these cases in more detail. The group recognised that many factors can affect a positive interaction between a service user and a member of staff, and that cases should be examined on an individual basis. Should inappropriate practice be identified, then it will be highlighted that Yorkshire Ambulance Service has zero tolerance and that member of staff will be supported to change their behaviour. Where a misunderstanding has occurred between a service-user and a member of staff, then a supportive approach will be taken, providing an explanation to the patient and allowing the member of staff an opportunity for reflective learning.

Patient Transport Service

Temperature of Waiting Area

Patients waiting for Patient Transport Service (PTS) journeys at the Patient Reception Centre at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, expressed concerns about the temperature of the waiting area. We worked with the Hospital to improve this by reducing draughts through the main entrance doors.

A&E/999 Service

Safeguarding Referrals

A number of complaints about staff attitudes arose where clinicians had made a safeguarding referral. On investigation clinicians had focused on ascertaining key information about the patient/child’s safety in line with their training and in doing so they had not seen how this would be perceived. Our safeguarding training was therefore developed to include patient experience and the DignityCode.

Emergency Operations Centre

What happens when you call 999?

A recurring theme from our surveys and complaints emerged that 999 callers were dissatisfied when their call was transferred to a clinical adviser. There appeared to be high expectation that following a 999 call an ambulance is dispatched. As a result we ran a significant public awareness campaign with the aim of improving the public’s understanding of the Ambulance Service.

Telephone Triage

Patient experience feedback and complaints/concerns highlighted that Yorkshire Ambulance Service received regular complaints and negative feedback from callers who did not understand a statement when their call was triaged by call takers in our Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). A revised statement was tested and subsequently implemented to help patients better understand why their call had been triaged.

Patient Transport Service

Further to a service-user complaint, it was agreed that the PTS booking telephone line would open earlier in order to accommodate patients who required transport from as early as 7.00am to reach a hospital appointment on time.

NHS 111

NHS 111 has a positive record of learning from service-user feedback and acting on complaints and concerns. Examples include:

  • From a number of patient comments a policy has been introduced to ensure consistency on arriving at home visits if a patient does not answer the door.
  • The increasing use of Special Patient Notes (SPNs) to alert NHS 111 staff and Local Care Direct (LCD) to specific patient care requirements.
  • Direct appointment bookings between NHS 111 and LCD.
  • Training for NHS 111 team leaders in complaint management.