Leadership is the key at AACE’s annual Ambulance Forum

ALF 2016 ConferenceA sense of optimism, at a time of great challenges for the urgent and emergency care system, merged with the resounding message that ambulance services will need even stronger leadership to survive and thrive in the future.

These two key themes, optimism and leadership emerged over the two days of this week’s highly successful Ambulance Leadership Forum (ALF) 2016.

ConferenceThe event – produced annually by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) – is now the major place for senior ambulance staff and their colleagues in industry and from across the wider NHS and academic landscapes to meet, network and discuss the topics that are at the top of the agenda for today’s UK ambulance service leaders.

ALF 2016 was held in Leicester and attracted over two hundred delegates for the two days, drawn from all UK NHS ambulance services and their key partners from across the health sector. The first day saw a busy series of conference presentations which sparked some lively debates across the floor.

Copies of the Speaker Presentations are available here.

Liz MacKean_1
Conference Chair Liz MacKean oversees proceedings

Chair of the Conference – award-winning BBC and Channel 4 journalist Liz MacKean – was able to get the participants to provide insight and share knowledge and ideas on a range of ambulance management topics.

Never far from the debate though, was the spectre of the unprecedented and ever growing demand for ambulance services, combined with the stark reality of the pressures being felt throughout the whole urgent and emergency care system.

Professor Keith Willett, NHS England
Professor Keith Willett, NHS England

Professor Keith Willett discussed this in detail and outlined what NHS England are doing to combat these issues, while simultaneously urging ambulance leaders to be brave and to adopt innovative approaches to managing their resources.

Rob Webster, NHS England
Rob Webster, NHS England

Privately some audience members may have been forgiven for wondering how much more they could do and how much faster they could go to implement changes, although the mood in the room remained upbeat and Professor Willett was, as always, a most welcome and informative speaker.

SCHARR's Janette Turner presents to conference
SCHARR’s Janette Turner presents to conference

Regrettably, the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt was a last minute cancellation.

In his absence, the audience was instead played a recorded message from Lord Prior of Brampton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for NHS Productivity (Minister responsible for Urgent and Emergency Care).

He thanked ambulance services for the hard work that was being done to save lives and treat patients in such challenging times.

ALF 2016 Award Winners - CopyThe evening saw a magnificent gala dinner – kindly sponsored by the ALF 2016 main sponsor Ferno® – where the AACE Outstanding Service Awards were presented for excellence to staff from across England. For details of all ten highly-deserving winners please see the list below.

AACE Chair Anthony Marsh thanks outgoing NWAS Chief Bob Williams
AACE Chair Anthony Marsh thanks outgoing NWAS Chief Bob Williams

Two other features of the evening were a charity auction which raised over £1,000 in aid of The Ambulance Services Charity (TASC) and an amusing and light hearted send-off by AACE chair Anthony Marsh for North West Ambulance Service Chief Executive Officer Bob Williams who is retiring in three weeks after 36 years in the NHS. Bob’s inspiring talk earlier in the day reminded many what an excellent and gifted leader the ambulance service is actually losing.

The TASC Team get supporters on board
The TASC Team get supporters on board
Paresh Wankhade in workshop
Paresh Wankhade in workshop

Day two was all about a series of workshops where the topics were as follows: ‘Our
Workforce,’ ‘Technological and Digital Enablement’ and ‘Vanguards and Innovation.

These workshops sparked more healthy debates and delegates left with new ideas and renewed vigour to take back to their trusts.

Copies of the Workshop Presentations are available here.

AACE MD Martin Flaherty OBE closes proceedings
AACE MD Martin Flaherty OBE closes proceedings

The event finished with meetings of the national director and work stream groups while the AACE organising team took a deep breath and discussed improvements for next year!

Liz MacKean 3The feedback from delegates was overwhelmingly positive with many describing an intimate yet rewarding event which consolidated the challenges facing UK ambulance services while providing genuine ideas and inspiration for positive changes back in trusts.

Did you attend ALF 2016? Please leave your feedback here.

AACE Outstanding Service Award Winners:

Outstanding Control Services Employee Award
Craig Foster, Call Operator – North East Ambulance Service

Outstanding Mentor or Tutor
Chris Mathews, Critical Care Paramedic – South East Coast Ambulance Service

Outstanding Innovation and Change Award
Thomas Heywood, Clinical Manager – Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Well deserved - congratulations to our winners
Well deserved – congratulations to our winners

Outstanding Innovation and Change Award
Adam Aston, Paramedic – West Midlands Ambulance Service

Outstanding Manager Award
Karen Gardner, Operations Manager – North East Ambulance Service

Outstanding Paramedic Award
Abigail Evans, Cycle Response Unit – London Ambulance Service

Outstanding Non-Paramedic Clinician
Steve Wainwright, Emergency Care Assistant – East of England Ambulance Service

Outstanding Support Services Award
Tez Westwood, HART Support Technician – East Midlands Ambulance Service

Outstanding Senior Management Award
Tracy Nicholls, Head of Quality Governance – East of England Ambulance Service

Outstanding Welfare and Wellbeing Award
Ben Lambert, Team Leader – South Central Ambulance Service

Your Feedback on the Forum

Steve Irving & Sam Williams AACE
The AACE’s Steve Irving & Sam Williams

The AACE would really value feedback from those who attended.
Please take a minute to fill in their feedback form here.

ALF 2017
The venue for next year’s event will again be in a central location and the date to hold in your diary is 7th and 8th of February 2017.