North West Ambulance Service

About NWAS

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) has a workforce of over 6000 staff, operating its emergency services from ambulance stations distributed across Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, three Emergency Operations Centres, one support centre, and two Hazardous Area Rescue Team centres.  In addition, the Trust provides the NHS 111 Service for the North West region and the Patient Transport Services for most of the area.

Our operational area covers a population of approximately 7.5 million people over five counties. We respond to patients across a geographical footprint of approximately 5,400 square miles. NWAS is the largest ambulance service in the UK receiving over 1.4 million emergency calls per year, with telephone based clinicians and emergency crews attending to more than 1.2 million incidents each year (2017/18).

Our NHS 111 service is the largest in the UK taking over 1.5 million calls each year. Patient Transport undertakes over 1.2 million non-emergency patient transport journeys each year. NWAS also forms part of the NHS response to Major Incidents, ensuring that plans are in place to provide a comprehensive response to major incidents, risks, or hazards.

These services are enabled by teams covering workforce, finance, digital, estates, fleet, project management, patient safety, patient experience, legal and many more ensuring that we provide the right care, at the right time, in the right place; every time.

Research & Development at NWAS

North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust is proud to be a research-active organisation. We develop and host research studies with a focus on pre-hospital healthcare, injuries and emergencies as well as supporting projects in other clinical specialities. We also explore non-clinical research opportunities involving the organisation and our workforce.

Our Research Strategy priorities are:

  1. Ensure that research is visible and supported throughout the whole organisation
  2. Expand our research networks and facilitate research collaborations
  3. Increase our research capacity and capability

We work in collaboration with a range of partners including the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the National Ambulance Research Steering Group (NARSG), NHS organisations and academic institutions to engage in research that will improve health outcomes for the population.

NWAS has a core Research & Development (R&D) Team that is led by Consultant Paramedic, Steve Bell, and consists of Research Manager, Sandra Igbodo, Research Support Officer, Jesse Oliver, and Research Paramedics, Adam Wright and Michelle Waddington.

For more information, please visit NWAS website.

A selection of NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio studies that NWAS has been involved in include:

  • AHP perceptions of NHS research capability and culture: A national research capacity in context survey
  • Ambulance clinician approach to acute head injuries in older adults: A mixed-methods study in clinical decision-making
  • BALM: Behavioural Activation for Low mood and anxiety in Male NHS frontline workers – The BALM programme
  • CARA Study: A cross-sectional survey evaluating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wellbeing of ambulance personnel in the United Kingdom
  • CATNAPS: Co-producing an Ambulance Trust national fatigue risk management system for improved Staff And Patient Safety
  • CESSATION: A mixed-methods study of female ambulance staff experiences of the menopause transition
  • COLLABORATE Project: Developing patient-centred, feasible alternative care for emergency department users with epilepsy. A model for service design
  • Communities in Charge of Alcohol (CICA) Programme: Evaluation of a community alcohol champions programme in Greater Manchester
  • Community First Responders’ role in the current and future rural health and care workforce
  • The COMPARE Study: The impact of COVID-19 on paramedic led out of hospital cardiac arrest resuscitation: A Qualitative study
  • Developing palliative and end-of-life care research partnerships and capacity in the North West Coast of England
  • Exploring the Impact of Alcohol Licensing in England and Scotland (ExILEnS)
  • HITS-NS: Head Injury Transportation Straight to Neurosurgery trial – a feasibility study
  • How can the NHS maximise its role as an ‘anchor institution’, boost local economies and reduce inequalities? – NIHR ARC Greater Manchester evaluation
  • Hypo-RESOLVE: Developing a preference-based quality of life (QoL) measure to determine the impact of hypoglycaemia in people with diabetes (PwD)
  • Identifying the impact of a colleague’s suicide on NHS staff, and their support needs, to inform postvention guidance
  • Impact of Restart a Heart Day 2019 in the UK
  • OPTIMIST: Optimising Implementation of Ischaemic Stroke Thrombectomy: Exploring NHS professional views about the emergency stroke pathway
  • Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Outcomes Project
  • PARAMEDIC-3: Pre-hospitAl RAndomised trial of MEDICation route in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
  • Paramedic Acute Stroke Treatment Assessment (PASTA) Trial
  • PRE FEED DIARY: Prehospital feedback in the United Kingdom – A realist evaluation of current practice using a multiple-case study design
  • PRE FEED REAL: Prehospital feedback in the United Kingdom – A realist evaluation of current practice using a multiple-case study design
  • Psychological impact of COVID- 19 pandemic and experience: An international survey
  • PRESTO: The Pre-hospital Evaluation of Sensitive Troponin study
  • PRINCIPLE Trial: Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 In older people
  • The REACT2 Study: paRamEdic decision making during out of hospital cardiAC arresT 2.  A mixed-methods study
  • The Resilience Hubs: A multi-site, mixed-methods evaluation of an NHS Outreach, Screening and Support Navigation service model to address the mental health needs of key workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • RESPARE: The RESearch PARamedic Experience (RESPARE) study – a qualitative study exploring the experiences of research paramedics working in the UK
  • Should I stay or should I go: NHS staff retention in a post Covid-19 world, challenges and prospects
  • SWAP: Staff Wellbeing in Ambulance Personnel
  • A survey of ambulance paramedics’ attitudes and experiences of identifying patients with end of life care needs and their awareness of the Gold Standards Framework Proactive Identification Guidance

Latest / significant publications

  • Alqurashi, N., Alotaibi, A., Bell, S., Lecky, F., & Body, R. (2022). The diagnostic accuracy of prehospital triage tools in identifying patients with traumatic brain injury: A systematic review. Injury [online], 53(6), pp. 2060-2068.  Available at https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2022.14.9.CPD1
  • Alqurashi, N., Alotaibi, A., Bell, S., Lecky, F., & Body, R. (2023). Towards exploring current challenges and future opportunities relating to the prehospital triage of patients with traumatic brain injury: a mixed-methods study protocol. BMJ Open [online], 13(3). Available at https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-068555
  • Bell, S., & Hill, J. E. (2022). Prehospital triage tools in major trauma: a critical appraisal of a systematic review [CPD: Major Trauma]. Journal of Paramedic Practice [online], 14(9), pp. 1-4. Available at https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2022.14.9.CPD1  
  • Bell, S., Pennington, E., Hill, J., & Harrison, J. (2022). Prehospital airway management [Commentary]. Journal of Paramedic Practice [online], 14(2), pp. 51-53. Available at: https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2022.14.2.51
  • Heys, S., Rhind, S., Tunn, J., Shethwood, K., & Henry, J. (2022). An exploration of maternity and newborn exposure, training and education among staff working within the North West Ambulance Service. British Paramedic Journal [online], 7(2), pp. 50-57. Available at: https://doi.org/10.29045/14784726.2022.
  • McElroy, L., Robinson, L., Battle, C., Laidlaw, L., Teager, A., de Bernard, L., McGillivray, J., Tsang, K., Bell, S., Leech, C., Marsden, M., Carden, R., Challen, K., Peck, G., Hancorn, K., Davenport, R., Brohi, K., & Wilson, M. S. J. (2022). Use of a modified Delphi process to develop research priorities in major trauma. European journal of trauma and emergency surgery: official publication of the European Trauma Society [online], 48(2), pp. 1453-1461.  Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00068-021-01722-z
  • Pennington, B., Bell, S., Wright, A. & Hill, J. (2023). Impact of COVID-19 on out-of-hospital cardiac arrest care processes. Journal of Paramedic Practice [online], 15(2), pp. 74-77. Available at https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2023.15.2.74
  • Pennington, E., Price, J., Bell, S., & Hill, J. (2022). Prevalence, severity and preventability of prehospital patient safety incidents. Journal of Paramedic Practice [online], 14(7), pp. 298-300.  Available at: https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2022.14.7.298
  • Thoburn, S., Cremin, S., & Holland, M. (2022). An atypical presentation of orthostatic hypotension and falls in an older adult. British paramedic journal [online], 6(4), pp. 41-47.  Available at: https://doi.org/10.29045/14784726.2022.  
  • Thomson, G., Balaam, M.-C., Nowland Harris, R., Crossland, N., Moncrieff, G., Heys, S., Sarian, A., Cull, J., Topalidou, A., & Downe, S. (2022). Companionship for women/birthing people using antenatal and intrapartum care in England during COVID-19: a mixed-methods analysis of national and organisational responses and perspectives. BMJ open [online], 12(1), e051965. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051965
  • Whitley, G. & Wilson, C. (2022). Paramedics…why do research? British Paramedic Journal [online], 7(1), pp.1-2. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.29045/14784726.2022.
  • Wilson, C., Howell, A.-M., Janes, G., & Benn, J. (2022). The role of feedback in emergency ambulance services: a qualitative interview study. BMC Health Services Research [online], 22(296), pp. 1-11.  Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-07676-1
  • Wilson, C., Janes, G., & Williams, J. (2022). Identity, positionality and reflexivity: relevance and application to research paramedics. British Paramedic Journal [online], 7(2), pp. 43-49. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.29045/14784726.2022.
  • Wilson, C., Prothero, L., & Williams, J. (2022) Celebrating international women’s day: where does this leave the paramedic profession? British Paramedic Journal [online], 6(4), pp.1-2. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.29045/14784726.2022.

The R&D team also supports student research and service evaluation projects that take place at the Trust.

NWAS research contact details

If you’re interested in working with NWAS, please email us at research.development@nwas.nhs.uk

Social media

Follow us on Twitter @NWAmb_Research for news and updates.