Ambulance services across the UK embrace collaboration through the ambulance leadership forum.

“There are now 40 regionalized ambulance services across the UK,” explains Steve Irving, Executive Officer, London Ambulance Service (LAS). “The Ambulance Leadership Forum comprises senior leadership from all these services, including representatives from the devolved powers of Wales and Scotland.”

The Ambulance Leadership Forum (ALF) is where leaders and senior managers from NHS ambulance services meet, share best practice and discover new ways to bring national excellence to the way they manage their local services.

Steve is responsible for reporting back to the Chair of the ALF. He explains the transformation that the Forum has been through during the last 12 months, going from an in-person meet-up reliant on email to a group that connects and work all year round online. 

“Co-operation is intrinsic to the Forum,” says Steve. “When the ALF updated its web site last year, we decided to create a members-only section within the public-facing site. We wanted to provide a secure online space for our members – including HR Directors, Chief Execs, Opera-tions Managers; you name it - to be able to develop policy and strategy.”
Following a thorough market assessment, the ALF settled on Huddle as the right tool for the job.

“That was just the beginning of the journey,” continues Steve. “Although Huddle is intuitive to use and easy to navigate, it wasn’t a familiar technology and initially there was resistance to change.”

 

"We have probably made our money back ten-fold in savings by doing things more efficiently. We have reduced travel significantly, which means we have also reduced our carbon footprint.”

 

In order to get buy in, Steve worked closely with Huddle’s Customer Engagement Team and held many meetings, explaining the concepts of cloud computing, collaboration and the benefits.He explains: “We started off with a few key players and let it spread. Once people could see it working for them, it took off.”

The ALF now boasts more than 30 different workgroups and well over 100 registered members.

Workgroups include Directors of Clinical Care, National Directors of Finance and Chief Executives. Steve moderates most groups: “Some groups are very active, such as the Director of Opera-tions group. They share a large portfolio of work in Huddle and have reduced their reliance on email significantly.”

Huddle is being used to develop policy documents, joint procurement of national rather than regional contracts and commonly shared strategy such as mutual aid, planning for the London Olympics and emergency preparation.

It’s not just a reduction in email that Forum members are enjoying as a result of better collaboration.

“The groups use the tasks, file sharing and online meetings features the most,” Steve explains. “We have probably made our money back ten-fold in savings by doing things more efficiently. We have reduced travel significantly, which means we have also reduced our carbon footprint.”

So what’s next? More collaboration of course, concludes Steve: “We only started this journey a year ago and we have lots still to do.”

 

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