Up-to-date and accurate mapping ensures that The North East Ambulance Service responds to emergency calls effectively and maintains a high level of service.
The North East Ambulance Service is a newly created NHS Foundation Trust that provides A&E and non-emergency patient transport services to more than 2.6 million people in the region.
The Trust covers an area of 3 200 square miles in the North East stretching from Northumberland to Middlesbrough, and provides ambulance services to 12 primary care trusts. Last year, the service responded to 360 000 emergency calls, almost a third of which are assessed as being potentially life threatening and require a response time of under eight minutes.
Up-to-date and accurate mapping is essential not only to ensure the NHS Foundation Trust responds to emergency calls effectively, but also to provide a high level of service for non-urgent cases – up to one million journeys each year are for outpatient appointments.
Having recently been awarded the contract to provide a non-emergency 111 around-the-clock telephone service for the North East following a successful pilot in County Durham, the need for accurate mapping has never been greater.
In March 2011, the NHS Foundation Trust decided to join the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). The 10-year agreement between government and Ordnance Survey came into effect in April 2011 and allows virtually any public sector body, regardless of size, in England and Wales to use centrally-funded geographic datasets to help plan and deliver services.
The PSMA widens access to a range of Ordnance Survey digital mapping products including OS MasterMap® and OS VectorMap® Local. It replaces previous collective agreements such as Dotted Eyes® NHS Digital Mapping Agreement and has the potential to achieve major savings for all public sector organisations through more accurate planning of services and a better use of resources.
North East Ambulance Services immediately took advantage of innovative mapping products such as OS MasterMap and AddressBase® Premium that were not available under its previous mapping agreement with Dotted Eyes.
Working closely with its command and control system supplier Cleric, the organisation is now using OS MasterMap Topography and the new AddressBase Premium products in its systems. Both products are now used in command and control and computer-aided design (CAD) systems, providing call centre staff with the most detailed and up-to-date geography available, enabling them to quickly and accurately identify the correct locations of incidents. The historical changes to addresses included in the AddressBase Premium product also identify locations where the caller may not have the most up-to-date address details. As the same Cleric systems are used for the new 111 service, non-emergency calls will also benefit from the new datasets. This geographical information supports the use of Ordnance Survey raster datasets and OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network™ (ITN), which is used to provide the most efficient routes for ambulances to incidents.
- £90 000 in licence fees saved by joining the PSMA.
- The PSMA has given access to more datasets, including OS MasterMap Topography, AddressBase and OS VectorMap Local.
- The new 111 non-emergency service will utilise the PSMA datasets.
- ITN data underpins the efficient routing of ambulances.
- AddressBase Premium provides the most up-to-date and accurate address information available directly from local authorities.
- The historical address records available in AddressBase Premium helps call centre staff to identify the exat locations of emergency calls.