Introducing the National Ambulance Syndromic Surveillance System:
Ambulance trusts are collaborating with Public Health England (PHE) to establish a national ambulance dispatch data syndromic surveillance system (ADDSSS).
Syndromic surveillance refers to the detection of health events prior to a formal identification (laboratory or clinical diagnosis). It plays an important public health function and provides an early warning of disease activity (such as the start of the flu season) and gives reassurance and situational awareness to decision makers on an ongoing basis.
The new ADDSSS will utilise anonymised data captured on chief presenting complaint and aims to, in near real-time, provide ambulance trusts and PHE with information that can be used to inform public health action.
This system will provide a unique national overview of ambulance trust activity and morbidity for major conditions such as respiratory infections. It will enhance PHE’s existing real-time syndromic surveillance service, which takes data from some NHS111 providers, GPs and Emergency Departments, by providing an additional measure of the “severe” end of the clinical spectrum.
The added value lies in its potential ability to complement and augment existing surveillance systems by providing information on infections, heatwaves and extreme cold weather events and chemical / toxicological incidents.
Prof. Smith says;
“We are excited to see that the majority of ambulance trusts have signed up to submit data to ADDSSS and we are now in a position to develop the first national ambulance dispatch data syndromic surveillance system in the world!”