This joint report highlights the pivotal role ambulance trusts are playing in managing the long-term impact of COVID-19, transforming urgent and emergency care (UEC) services and delivering the NHS long term plan. As the health and care sector embarks on a further period of significant change to embed system working, and prepare for a new Health and Care Bill, it is clear that the skills, scale and reach of ambulance services mean they are well placed to play a leading role in the integration of services. As the health and care system builds on learning and innovation from the pandemic, the ambulance sector will continue to play a key role in helping to recover care backlogs and meet rising demand for services.  

Ambulance trusts continue to face the twin challenges of severe workforce and funding pressures. They have adapted to find solutions, for example by collaborating with partners to provide more care close to home, changing their clinical response model, training and working practices to deploy their staff more effectively, and they are leading the way in harnessing digital technology to improve care for patients. However, we know there is more to do, to work with national decision makers on more permanent funding solutions, and to share best practice across the sector. 

In this report we explore these approaches, using case studies to highlight some of the challenges and solutions that demonstrate the vital contribution that ambulance services are already making in integrating care and securing the success of the long term plan. We also look at what needs to happen for the sector's role in this endeavour to go even further, faster.

This report reflects the close and continuing collaboration between our two organisations, with our shared commitment to supporting the work of ambulance trusts, highlighting the challenges they face, celebrating their successes and sharing lessons learned in providing better care for patients in a fast-changing environment. 

We are grateful to all who took the time to contribute, and we hope you find it useful when engaging with your local ambulance trust.