Real People, Real Lives: sharing insights at London Ambulance Service

May 3, 2017
We were delighted to be asked back by London Ambulance Service to work with them on their Insight Project. London Ambulance Service (LAS) recognises that continuous improvement of services is essential. It also believes this can be best achieved by patients, carers and staff working together; this was our starting point.
Following initial enquiries, three groups were identified and were willing to work with LAS to explore how services could be improved, these were: The Lewisham Breathe Easy Group, The Merton Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia Group and the Oxleas Trust ResearchNet Peer Support Group.
The patient and carer groups were very helpful in supporting the arrangement of focus groups. Groups were attended by patients, carers and London Ambulance Service staff. This model of co-production was an important feature of the work. Each focus group was independently facilitated and the location of the focus groups on ‘home turf’ in community venues where groups already met was key. The layout of the rooms ensured staff and service users were mixed so as to avoid any sense of ‘them’ and ‘us’ and a social element was included, with time for refreshments to share and speak informally as well as in the focus group set up.
During the course of the focus groups, participants shared their powerful and sometimes emotional experiences and stories. To do this takes great courage and appreciation is extended to people for being so generous with their time, energy and spirit.

A number of the ideas generated by the groups are similar including; the value of on-going collaboration and discussion; learning, education and training; empowering patients and carers to make the best decisions in a crisis; better understanding by LAS staff of the unique aspects of certain condition; co-produced patient information; better use of technology; patient and carer led initiatives; valuing people as more than their condition; recognising and valuing the role of carers; better use of existing resources; sometimes it’s the simple things that matter most.

You can view a snippet of the feedback here but the full impact of the conversations can be found in the accompanying report available by Clicking Here.

The project was funded by NHS England and will be used to see if similar approaches can be taken in other ambulance trusts across the Country.
Conal Percy, Community Involvement Officer said, “Jessie has an instinctive ability to draw out what really matters to patients and what really matters to ambulance staff and hold the views of both. It is both a privilege and an inspiration to be a participant at one of her focus groups.”
On-going work with the groups is planned and underway. The report is being presented to the London Ambulance Service Patients’ Forum in June and an action plan is being created to take the practical tasks forward.
If you would like more information or to explore how we can run a series of patient, carer and staff focus groups for your organisation please get in touch on or by calling 07964 007884.


PPI Solutions provides a wide range of services to help you engage with your communities. Whatever your goals we can create a package, give you support or run training to help you meet them.