Background: In 2005 the Department of Health set out a vision for the provision of future ambulance services with an increasing range of quality mobile healthcare services for patients with urgent and emergency care needs. This paper describes a scoping study funded by the National Patient Safety Agency and Ambulance Service Association to investigate the short and longer term requirements of future emergency ambulances.
Method: Four stakeholder workshops were held to explore the wishes, concerns and preferences of the clinicians, operational staff and manufacturers about the future provision of ambulance services and problems and possible solutions relating to ambulance design and use. Incident reports relating to ambulance design and use were reviewed from three national and international databases.
Results: Nine design challenges were identified: access/egress; space and layout; securing people and equipment in transit; communication; security, violence and aggression; hygiene; equipment; vehicle engineering; patient experience. These were validated at the national UK ambulance conference (AMBEX 2006) with a rating questionnaire.
Conclusion: The results are being used in the development of a national specification for future UK emergency ambulances.
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Funding: The project was funded by the National Patient Safety Agency and the Helen Hamlyn Trust.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethical approval was granted by Loughborough University ethics committee.