Project MH31

Working together to prevent suicide in the ambulance sector: implementation tool -MH31

A national working group developed a consensus statement on how to promote mental wellbeing and prevent suicide within the ambulance sector workforce. This project developed a brief tool to guide ambulance services in implementing the consensus statement recommendations with their workforce.

Background

Working for an ambulance service is very rewarding, but also can be demanding and stressful work. People who work for ambulance services are more likely to report low wellbeing and mental health challenges that other health care or emergency service workers.

The Chief Allied Health Officer for NHS England commissioned Public Health England (now Office for Health Improvement & Disparities), in collaboration with staff, researchers and charities across the ambulance sector, to develop an agreed set of actions (a consensus statement) on how ambulance services can better support the mental health of their staff. The next challenge is how to embed these Working Together recommendations to improve the day to day working lives of staff, and thereby improve the experience of patients and users of ambulance services.

Project aims

This brief tool is designed to aid ambulance services to implement the recommendations of the Working Together consensus statement and self-audit tool.

It can be used to:

  • Reflect on current provision of staff health and wellbeing supports
  • Prioritise areas for action over the short and medium term
  • Identify barriers and facilitators to making the changes suggested in the Working Together documents

Review progress and feed into a Plan-Do-Study-Act evaluation cycle.

Project activity

In collaboration with the Working Together Steering Committee, the project group developed and piloted the implementation tool. The tool takes users through a series of questions designed to help understand what actions are currently being taken to meet the recommendations of Working Together, prioritise new actions, and identify and address barriers to making change.

The tool is now in use by ambulance services across the NHS ambulance sector.

Anticipated outputs

It is hoped the tool will help ambulance services reflect on the actions they are taking to support staff wellbeing, and to strengthen supports offered to staff. By helping staff manage the stresses of their job and increase access to wellbeing supports, it is hoped to improve the working lives of staff so they are best able to offer the highest standard of care to patients and the public.

Next steps

The tool and other associated resources from the Working Together project are now in use and an evaluation of uptake and impact is planned.

Who is involved

Prof. Kristy Sanderson, University of East Anglia

Dr Bryony Porter, University of East Anglia

Dr Fiona Bell, Yorkshire Ambulance NHS Trust

Prof. Niro Siriwardena, Lincoln University

Prof. Paresh Wankhade, Edge Hill University

Contact us

Prof. Kristy Sanderson, University of East Anglia, Kristy.sanderson@uea.ac.uk