Health care policy with ambulance clinicians in mind

Governments decide health policy and control the NHS through the Department of Health (DH) (Williamson et al, 2010). For this reason, some of the most pertinent policies and documents published by the DH have been chosen for discussion within this article. The wealth of documents, policies, strategies and recommendations governing ambulance clinicians' working lives, can sometimes be overwhelming and cover an extensive range of topics. It can be a lengthy and onerous task to read through even the summaries of each document and deciding if the content pertains to the role. The DH is the principal government department with responsibility for health matters and publication of health policy for England. However, there may be some overarching principles that are similar for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Details and structures created are slightly different throughout the UK (Williamson et al, 2010). The focus of this article is on England and the application to the NHS, however some principles may be applicable to the whole of the UK. It is the intention of this article to summarize some DH documents, which will enable the ambulance clinician to reflect on the impact health care policy has on their care provision, role and responsibilities. Ambulance clinicians may benefit from the use of this article as a starting point to further enquiry into other agencies. For example, the Care Quality Commission and publications from local ambulance trusts, which often reflect the national government focus at a local level.

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