Highlights from ORH’s inaugural Ambulance Client Conference

March 2024 saw ORH host its first ambulance client conference. The two-day event, held at the Select Car Leasing stadium in Reading, brought together representatives from seven ambulance services across the UK. The conference served as a platform for those involved in service planning to share experiences and discuss common challenges, and included a mix of speakers from ORH and our clients.

Day 1 was the AmbSim User Group session, where clients who use ORH’s ambulance simulation model, AmbSim, within their service planning team met to discuss the software. Sessions included forecasting and planning, getting the most out of the in-built visualisations, and discussing the approach taken by different clients.

A social networking event was organised in the evening of Day 1 to bring ambulance service colleagues and ORH staff together.

Day 2 focused on the challenges facing ambulance services, and included sessions on:

  • Different options for handling relief in rosters
  • Operationalising the outputs from strategic reviews
  • Workforce Planning
  • Differences in operating models in the dispatch functions across the UK
  • ‘Silo-busting’ service planning in an ambulance service

The event concluded with a round-table discussion about what the future holds for ambulance services, and likely challenges. Feedback from the event was very positive, and we will soon be planning our next client conference. If you’d like to receive any information on future events, please get in contact at enquiries@orhltd.com

ORH recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces in 2022!

This week we were delighted to be listed as one of the best small companies to work for in the UK by Great Place to Work®. We ranked 12th out of 80 Certified™ companies in their annual list, an incredible achievement of which we are hugely proud as an organisation.

At ORH we have always placed great value in our company culture, the skills and development of our staff and the way we work together to deliver high-quality projects to the public sector. To see this officially recognised in this manner is very rewarding.

To be considered eligible for Best Workplace™ recognition, companies first had to meet the Great Place to Work-Certified™ standard of accreditation. Once Certified™, each company undergoes a rigorous assessment of their culture, during which review any anomalies in survey responses, news, and financial performance of each business to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results. More details on the awards are available here:

We would like to thank Great Place to Work for this recognition and for hosting a fantastic awards dinner in London. Most importantly, we are grateful for the support of our staff in delivering a thriving and enthusiastic work environment, which we can now officially say is one of the Best Workplaces™ in the country!

ORH has been voted one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Wellbeing

ORH has been recognised as a UK’s Best Workplace™ for Wellbeing by Great Place to Work®.  We’re one of the top 50 companies on the Small organisations list.

See the full list here.

To determine the UK’s Best Workplaces™ list, Great Place to Work® culture experts analysed thousands of employee surveys, assessing their holistic experiences of wellbeing at work through fundamental facets of employee wellbeing, including work-life balance, sense of fulfilment, job satisfaction, psychological safety and financial security.

Evaluations also included an assessment of how well ORH was able to deliver a consistent employee experience across the entire company.

To have been considered one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Wellbeing, ORH also had to:

  • Achieve Great Place to Work® certification in 2021
  • Meet the minimum Trust Index™ threshold of 85% for the small business size category

At ORH, we place strong emphasis on developing the skills of our employees through exposure to interesting projects that have a real-life impact.  We pride ourselves on our approachability and strongly value the different skillsets of our staff.  As such, we’re incredibly proud to be ranked among the 250 organisations on the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Wellbeing list, demonstrating that our people are truly at the heart of everything we do.  

ORH providing Facilities Planning services to Sport England

ORH is delighted to have been awarded both Lots 1 and 2 in the recent Sport England Strategic Modelling Services tendering process. 

ORH has managed the running of the Facilities Planning Model (FPM) for Sport England for the last 9 years and has now taken on the scoping and reporting of national and local jobs.  This means we can now offer an end-to-end service for local authorities; managing the entire service will also enable significant development of the FPM and its outputs to ensure it remains current, useful and accessible.

National and local bespoke FPM reports form an important part of the sports facility evidence base, and we look forward to working with local authorities and sports consultancies to deliver these and gain feedback to further increase the FPM’s functionality. Please contact us on 0118 959 6623 or at enquiries@orhltd.com for further information and to discuss your requirements.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Ambulance Response Data

As we begin venturing back into the office, ORH looks at the impact that Covid-19 has had on ambulance response data.

Historical data is an important element of ORH’s analysis for model inputs. The type and number of incidents that emergency service vehicles respond to play an important part in the forecasting of future incidents. When we come to analyse the data for 2020 there will be unusual patterns that will, hopefully, not be reflective of what we can expect of future behaviour.

NHS England releases the Statistical Note: Ambulance Quality Indicators each month, and the latest (published on 9 July 2020) reported that the number of 999 calls in May and June of this year were the lowest for two years. For the last four months, ambulance services have resolved incidents differently to normal practice. Usually just under 60% of incidents across England are conveyed to an emergency department, and around 30% of incidents are resolved at scene. As Covid-19 began to affect life in England during March, so the proportion of patients transported to hospital dropped and was lowest in April at 44%. The percentage increased in May, but was still only 53% in June when England began to emerge from lockdown as non-essential retailers reopened in mid-June.

There has also been a significant change in England’s ambulance response times. In March response times increased significantly as the number of Covid-19 cases increased, but then in April response times improved dramatically, even though Covid-19 cases were at their highest. Markedly   in May, ambulance response times were at their quickest since measures began in 2017 across all four response categories. There was a small increase in response times in June compared to May, but they remained lower than during pre-pandemic times.

For a third of 2020, how ambulances resolve incidents and their response times have been far from normal, and it remains to be seen what the rest of 2020 holds in store for us when it comes to predicting the future.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Sport Participation

As leisure centres and sport clubs begin to re-open across the UK, ORH takes a look at the impact that Covid-19 has had on sport participation.

Sport participation data from Sport England’s Active Lives survey is crucial for calculating the demand from the population for Sport England and sportscotland’s Facility Planning Model (FPM), which ORH operates and maintains. However, for a third of this year, there’s been no participation in activities involving indoor facilities such as, swimming, badminton and squash, and no team sports (at amateur level). So, what have we been doing instead, and will we maintain this behaviour?

On 23 March 2020 the British public were instructed to ‘stay at home’ but allowed one form of outdoor exercise each day such as running, walking or cycling. This caused massive disruption to physical activity. Sport England began monitoring the change in activity levels with weekly surveys through April and May, and monthly surveys in June and July.

In Sport England’s first survey, for the week 3-6  April, walking proved to be the most popular activity undertaken for 59% of adults. With gyms and clubs closed, 44% of adults took part in fitness classes and activities online and offline, or just exercised informally in their homes instead. Activities such as running were undertaken by 18% of adults, and 8% cycled.

After guidance on the number of outdoor exercise periods was lifted on 13 May, we reached peak activity levels in the week 15-18  May. The proportion of adults cycling doubled from the first week to 16%, almost two-thirds of adults (65%) were walking, and one-fifth of adults were running.

In July, with restrictions easing and more activities like golf and tennis becoming available, the proportion of people walking had reduced to 58%, similar to the pre-lockdown level.  The proportion of people doing home-based activities, which had peaked at the beginning of May at 48%, fell to 34%. However, cycling and running have managed to maintain some improvement since the start of lockdown, with 14% of adults cycling and 20% of adults running in July.

So, will athletes return to their previous patterns of sport participation or continue with the alternative activities discovered in lockdown? There definitely seems to be an intention to return to the same activities as pre-lockdown, but also to do more walking, running, home-based fitness and water sports. We’ll just have to wait for the next batch of data in 2021 to find out if people actually do this.

Additional Fire Station Opens Following ORH Study

Following ORH’s successful station location study for Tempe Fire Medical Rescue (TFMR) in Arizona, the department has recently opened an additional fire station in the city.

The City of Tempe has grown considerably in recent years, with the increase in population leading to more demand on the fire department, particularly in terms of EMS incidents.

ORH was initially tasked with evaluating historical performance, projecting future demand and optimising station locations across the city. The new site was identified through this process and we have supported TFMR with further modelling around the deployment of different vehicle types at stations.

We are pleased to see the new station come to fruition and look forward to the benefit it will bring to residents in Tempe and surrounding cities as part of the automatic aid system.

Greg Ruiz, Chief at TFMR, commented that “ORH’s valuable input enabled TFMR to make best-practice decisions for our future, driven by a detailed critical analysis and a practical and professional decision-making process”.

ORH works with fire services around the world to match resources to risk in an appropriate manner.

(Photo courtesy of Arrington Watkins Architects)

International Control Room Week

NSW Health Share.

International Control Room Week is a week to specifically celebrate the unsung heroes of the emergency services, run by Hull technology firm APD Communications.

This is being held for the second time from October 21 to 27, and is supported by fire, ambulance, police, coastguard and airport staff across the country. The campaign week highlights the critical role played by the control room teams that keep people safe and deal with traumatic incidents daily.

Emergency service control rooms are often the heart of the service, providing an essential function that can go unrecognised. An effective control room needs the optimal staff mix and to manage resources dynamically using innovative technology. ORH supports emergency services around the world to operate more efficiently.


The Talent Developing ORH’s Software

Our unique models are designed to help emergency services make difficult decisions in real time and plan for the future. To keep our software at the cutting edge, we have a small team of talented developers working hard to innovate and solve new problems. Tom has been working at ORH for the last six years developing, maintaining and supporting our software, which is used both externally by clients and internally by our consultants. His profile explores in more detail the interesting projects he’s been working on recently.

ACT Government Invests in Emergency Services Following ORH Review

The ACT Government in Australia has announced plans to deliver additional emergency service vehicles and stations based on the advice of ORH’s review of the Station Upgrade and Relocation Plan (SURP). ORH used projected changes to both population and road journey times to create 2028 demand scenarios for both the ambulance and fire services in Canberra. Our simulation and optimisation models were used to predict changes to operations and identify the number of vehicles and locations required by each service to maintain and improve emergency response standards in the future.

As a result, the ACT Government will now begin work on two new combined ambulance and fire stations, to be located in the City and Molonglo Valley. They will also recruit more firefighters and invest in a new aerial platform vehicle to improve their response capabilities to the growth in higher density and multi-storey buildings. Further details from the ACT Government can be found here.

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