top of page

Company Research

North West Ambulance Service

NWAS was formed after merging four previous services: Cumbria Ambulance Service Lancashire Ambulance Service Cheshire and Mersey Ambulance Service Greater Manchester Ambulance Service.

What is the North West Ambulance Service?

As one of England's ten ambulance trusts providing emergency medical services, the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) receives funding directly from the National Health Service.

NWAS comprises emergency responders, patient transport service providers, and NHS 111 urgent care and advice givers.



NWAS was formed

The Department of Health (led by Lord Normal Warner, the health minister), invited Peter Bradley, Chief Executive of London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, to become National Ambulance Adviser and lead a strategic review of NHS ambulance services in England.


After commissioning a reference group with Lord Warner, Peter Bradley created a report covering a 5-year vision, recommendations in five areas, and a breakdown of the service's current issues and suggestions for improvement.

Before NWAS was formed

Four services were merged

Before NWAS was established, the North West had four services, which were Cumbria Ambulance Service, Lancashire, Cheshire and Mersey Ambulance Service, as well as Greater Manchester Ambulance Service. Lord Warner worked with Peter Bradley to merge these services to create a new service for the population living in the North West to better access local health services to reduce A&E visits, be given a more precise understanding of the prioritisation of urgent, and non-urgent cases and set out a vision on the next five years.

5 year vision

The group worked with staff, stakeholders and more to set out the 5 year vision.

As referenced above, the 5-year vision of the reference group set out critical ideas for the new merged service. Firstly, the speed and quality of call handling must be improved significantly when clinical advice is being given to callers. Secondly, patients requiring urgent care could receive various mobile health care options. Thirdly, callers could be signposted to other services like primary care, diagnostics or health promotion to reduce the number of ambulances sent out. Lastly, the speed and quality of service provided will continue to be improved to liaise with emergency care needs.

How the data was gathered

Lord Warner made sure to gather data through a range of different ways.

When NWAS was being formed, Lord Norman Warner reviewed the abovementioned report. In addition to this, he received data gathered through a range of avenues. Initially, he looked at the records provided by previous work undertaken by ambulance staff, stakeholders, other NHS organisations, trade union representatives, and patients and patient representatives. Besides reviewing this data, he also looked at the future visions for a combined service, the recommended reforms needed and the principles that ambulance services should be: designed around the needs of the patient, designed around the care they provide whilst being done in an integrated way with external health and social care providers nearby.

What gaps were found in the market?

Before NWAS was created, Lord Warned wished to invision the gaps in the market.

Before its inception, NWAS outlined a series of opportunities that would not only improve the care they would give to patients but also increase staff support and provide training and opportunities for continuous staff development within the trust. The notable gaps in the market started with a patient focus. Patient focus is a large part of NWAS culture and the North West.


North West Ambulance Service Logo crest

In 1985, the crown badge was created and presented to each ambulance service. Before this, ambulances didn’t have a specific logo/badge representing them, so the crown badge is a unique way of showcasing what area of service the ambulance is under. The badge is seen with great pride by staff since its existence is marked with royal approval.

The crown badge is made up of the crown, which signifies royal approval; the wheel, which represents transportation and mobility; the serpent climbing the staff is the symbol of healing; the Maltese cross is the badge of the Knights of St John; an order dedicated to the sick and injured, and lastly, a laurel wreath which is an Award of Honour dating back to Roman times.

Logo placement

  • In digital communications, the logo appears on the left-hand side. With the logo height being 4x times larger than the margin.

Screenshot of laptop with logo placement on top left corner
Collage of logo placement on print with dimensions below
  • In print communications, we place the logo on the right-hand side.

  • The NHS determines the size and position of our logo as seen in the table to the right.


Colour palette

Primary colours

  • NWAS green and yellow are based on the colours of an ambulance on the road.

  • Complimented by the darker tones to give a feeling of vibrancy and balance.

  • These colours are used in all NWAS branding – social media, both digital and print content and otherwise.

NWAS Green





80 / 0 / 60 / 0

0 / 169 / 122



NWAS Ocean Blue





91 / 52 / 49 / 46

10 / 69 / 79



NWAS Navy Blue





92 / 90 / 45 / 60

34 / 28 / 53



NWAS Yellow





20 / 0 / 100 / 0

226 / 231 / 41



Secondary colours

  • Those on the right make up our secondary colours and are from the extended NHS colour palette.

  • They are used sparingly to provide some colour, highlight key messages and are not dominant.

  • They are used in infographics, posters, etc.

Collage of secondary colours used at NWAS


  • Accessibility is a critical part of all our marketing and branding.

  • We must ensure we adhere to the WCAG 2.0 guidelines for contrast accessibility.

  • The table to the right showcases how primary and secondary colours are used to achieve colour accessibility.

  • We also use tools such as Adobe colour checker to ensure it’s correct.

Accessibility colour table
13_111_front shot of male clinician smiling at camera front_Mbrook.jpg.jpg


To help people when they need us most.


To deliver the right care, at the right time, in the right place; every time.

pts crew laughing together.JPEG


Our values underpin all that we do.

Service Lines

What is my job role?

As a digital communications assistant apprentice, I provide general communications and administrative support to the head of communications and engagement and the broader communications team. My role allows me to actively seek experience in the full spectrum of communications functions, focusing on digital and social media.

The Communications and Patient Engagement team sits within the Strategy, Partnerships and Transformation team under the Deputy CEO and Executive Director Salman Desai. My role enables me to positively interact and help others in Strategy, Partnerships and Transformations and those in other corporate directorates and clinical positions.

Most of my week is spent at Ladybridge Hall in Bolton; however, I also frequently visit other sites within the trust to capture stock photography, film, and complete other duties set by my team members. I have been allowed to travel to Liverpool, Lancashire, Blackburn, Chester, Greater Manchester etc. This role has allowed me to grow in confidence, and I continue to liaise with members of the organisation whilst building on my independence.

My primary duties include supporting the communications officer (video and photography) with planning, developing, and producing video, graphic, visual, and photographic content. This involves helping with activities such as planning, scheduling, and coordinating video and photography shoots, as well as assisting with the editing and post-production of video content. Additionally, I help create visual and graphic content, such as infographics and social media graphics, to support our digital communication efforts.

In addition to supporting the Communications Officer, I also provide general administrative support to the Communications and Engagement team. This includes record-keeping, information provision, and assisting with planning communication and engagement activities and services. For instance, I help organise and coordinate virtual and in-person events and assist with creating and disseminating communications materials, such as bulletins and posters.

Moreover, I play a critical role in supporting the team's digital and social media communication efforts. This includes assisting with social media content creation, scheduling and posting, monitoring engagement and analytics, and supporting the development of social media campaigns. I also help manage the organisation's website, ensure that the content is up-to-date and relevant, and support the development of new digital content.

As an apprentice, I always seek opportunities to gain experience in different communications functions, particularly in digital and social media. By doing so, I can develop my skills and knowledge in these areas, which will help me in my future career. This includes participating in training sessions and workshops and actively seeking new responsibilities and challenges within the team.

In conclusion, as a digital communications assistant apprentice, my role is vital in providing general communications and administrative support to the Head of Communications and Engagement and the wider Communications Team. I always seek opportunities to gain experience in different communications functions, focusing on digital and social media while supporting the Communications Officer (video and photography) and providing general administrative support to the broader team. Through my role, I am developing my skills and knowledge in communications, which will benefit me in my future career.

woman sat behind camera filming other woman at event
camera in focus in front of blurry woman in background
blurry camera and woman in focus smiling

Why was my role as a Digital Communications Assistant Apprentice created?

close up of video editing software

Digital Communications Assistant Apprentice

My role was developed by my line manager and the Communications team to assist the Communications Officer who covers film, photography and visual content. 

At the time, it was conceived with an apprenticeship in mind. Because of this, the role was designed with the Head of the Widening Access team to be a Level 3 Junior Content Producer apprenticeship covering content creation, development of digital, social media and broadcasts, and print. 

phone in gimbal with city background
close up photo of camera lens
woman wearing headphones in front of microphone

My team

The Communications and Patient Engagement team is a multi-award winning group that manages both the internal, external and customer engagement at the North West Ambulance Service. 

Once a small team, we are now happy to have over 23 members of our team which are based at multiple offices across the North West. 

group of male and female staff wearing high-vis in front of helicopter


As mentioned, the Communications makes up half of the Communications and Patient Engagement team. The head of the team, Julie Treharne, oversees all internal and external communications and this can feature internal bulletins, green room, the staff app, staff wellbeing surveys and so on.


Meanwhile, the external team focus on press releases, social media copy, MP letters and external stakeholders. We produce a range of both internal and external films that feature our diverse body of staff which is made more accessible by the range of staff networks we have. The team works directly under the deputy CEO, Salman Desai, head of the Strategy, Partnership and Transformation directorate.

group of male and female staff smiling at camera with STAR AWARDS 2023 at bottom left

Patient Engagement 

My relationship with the team

Head of Communications and Patient Engagement
Julie Treharne

Julie, the Head of Communications & Patient Engagement, has been an invaluable mentor throughout my apprenticeship. Her extensive experience in health and public sector communications has provided me with many opportunities to develop and enhance my skillset. From attending Crisis Communications training to collaborating with external organisations like Royal Mail, I have gained invaluable hands-on experience. Julie's leadership and guidance have fostered my ability to foster a collaborative approach, communicate well, effectively resolve conflicts, and take initiative in different situations.

Communications Officer
Caroline Turner

Caroline, my mentor and a seasoned photographer and videographer oversees the trust's extensive collection of film and imagery. From the outset of my role, Caroline has immersed me in the intricacies of video production, imparting knowledge on framing techniques, camera settings in photography, and many other filmmaking essentials. This comprehensive guidance has honed my skills and fostered my growth as a videographer.

Among my team members, I collaborate the closest with Caroline, and with her unwavering support, I have contributed to a range of projects, including:

  • A series of first-aid training videos hosted on YouTube

  • A collection of engaging social media reels

  • A captivating video series commemorating the Long Service Awards

  • Numerous heartfelt narratives showcasing the experiences of patients and staff

  • Valuable guidance and support in refining my stock photo capturing techniques

  • Instruction in the adequate taxonomy and storage of video and photography files

  • Insights into the process of obtaining consent and clearances

  • Practical training in crafting storyboards and shot lists


Caroline's mentorship has been invaluable, providing me with a solid video production and editing foundation. Her expertise and unwavering support have empowered me to pursue my passion for storytelling through the visual medium.

External Communications

Working with the external communications team, I contribute to the overall success of our campaigns by crafting engaging social media posts, writing informative external web content, capturing high-quality stock photography, and ensuring accessibility across all platforms.

With a keen eye for audience engagement, I conduct audience analysis to tailor my social media posts to resonate with our target demographics. Employing a consistent and appropriate tone of voice, I produce concise, compelling content that aligns with our brand messaging.

My passion for photography extends to capturing visually captivating stock images that enhance our external campaigns. I carefully consider ethical considerations throughout the photography process, ensuring that all images have approved clearance and consent and are representative and inclusive. 

Adept at problem-solving, I tackle challenges head-on, proactively identifying and resolving accessibility issues hindering our communication efforts. My commitment to accessibility ensures that our messaging reaches the broadest possible audience, fostering inclusivity and understanding.

Through creativity, strategic thinking, and a dedication to ethical practices, I play a pivotal role in supporting the external communications team's mission to effectively engage our target audiences and promote our brand's positive image.

Internal Communications

By assisting the internal communications team, I contribute to the adequate flow of information within our organisation by actively engaging with our staff Facebook group, crafting engaging web content, producing graphic design content, posting new pages to our intranet, and producing informative videos.

Leveraging my blend of soft and hard skills, I diligently monitor the staff's Facebook group, fostering a vibrant online community where employees can connect, share ideas, and stay informed about company developments. I play a crucial role in maintaining a positive and productive work environment by responding to posts, addressing concerns, and facilitating discussions.

My expertise in copywriting extends to crafting compelling web posts that resonate with our internal audience. Utilising search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, I produce content that is both informative and engaging, ensuring that our staff remains up-to-date on relevant company news and initiatives.

Committed to accessibility, I actively manage the alt text of all images on our staff intranet. Providing clear and descriptive alt text for visually impaired employees ensures that our internal communications are inclusive and accessible to all.

Through my dedication to fostering a connected, informed, and accessible work environment, I support the internal communications team's mission to keep our staff engaged, motivated, and well-informed.

Patient Engagement

In my role supporting the Patient Engagement Team, I actively contribute through a multifaceted approach, combining my passion for photography and a robust set of hard and soft skills. I am a dedicated presence at events, not only attending but also facilitating, ensuring a seamless and engaging experience for participants.


Leveraging my expertise, I collaborate with team members to produce captivating how-to and informational videos that elucidate campaign topics, employing my technical prowess in videography. I am instrumental in promoting the Patient and Public Panel to new users, employing my soft skills in communication and outreach.


Through my lens, I capture compelling event photography, showcasing my composition, lighting, and storytelling proficiency. Additionally, I contribute to the staff board story by filming the Patient and Public Panel with my line manager, Caroline, utilising my videography skills to raise awareness about specific disabilities.


I employ my keen eye for detail and creativity in crafting specific promotional photos for upcoming events. My comprehensive involvement enhances the visual appeal of our initiatives and plays a vital role in fostering greater patient engagement and awareness.

Working with the Patient and Public Panel on a range of films, photography, campaigns and events has allowed me to network with volunteers, meet like-minded individuals and increase my knowledge and confidence when attending events.

The Patient Engagement (PE) team makes up the other 50% of Communications and Engagement. Despite being a small team, the PE team works all over the North West to speak with patients, work with community leisure centres or groups and facilitate various feedback events.


They were instrumental in creating the Patient and Public Panel, a voluntary group we lean on when gathering patient feedback and first-hand accounts of different accessibility barriers or experiences the panel members have had or live through. The range of feedback we receive primarily comes through feedback surveys placed within ambulances at the end of 111 calls as text surveys and when calling for an ambulance via 999. 

picture of man
picture of woman
picture of man

Team Charter

I conducted thorough research into my team charter to gain a comprehensive understanding of our team's purpose, roles, responsibilities, and overall structure.

Team hierarchy.png


NWAS is a publicly funded service for those requiring urgent and non-urgent medical assistance in England's North West. 

As one of 14 ambulance trusts in the UK, NWAS has an enormous footprint because it serves Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire and some parts of Glossop in the Peak District. It has over 7 million staff.

Concerning the type of sector NWAS is, it can be classed as tertiary or service type. The tertiary industry comprises businesses that provide intangible goods or services to consumers and other companies. The "type of service" NWAS provides is a care type which involves our clinicians and other staff treating members of the public responding in life-threatening emergencies and giving advice to non-threatening concerns.

Despite not selling products, our clientele is a mix of B2C and B2B as we don't sell products but instead reach out to our patients (B2C) through various avenues such as how-to guides on accessing our services, providing medical guidance and otherwise. We also market to our stakeholders and staff members (B2B).  We do this through internal bulletins, videos, graphics, etc. We produce stakeholder news, informational guides or packs and other campaigns which our stakeholders share on social media and release to their followers in their local communities.

In completing my research on NWAS, I wanted to consider how we match the critical marketing concepts. Despite NWAS not selling products, we align with most, if not all, the traditional marketing practices. 

To start with, a large amount of our services meet the production concept. We constantly strive to produce campaigns, work and develop services to be more efficient, quicker and better for the public and staff. We have a range of freedom to speak up champions who speak to staff who raise concerns about specific procedures that may have not been done in the best way and how we can learn about them.


Additionally, I work with my manager to produce patient and staff-filmed case studies, which are presented to our board of directors every other month. Not only does this highlight the incidents patients and staff have experienced, but it also raises the learning opportunities for the board. 

In addition to production, I believe we also meet the product concept. The reason I think this is because we regularly review our ambulances, vehicles, buildings, equipment and other types of products to see if they can be developed, if they are working to their total capacity, what is their sustainability level and what is the overall impact of using that vehicle and the link with that patient not getting the correct response or care needed. I filmed a staff member for our staff award ceremony. He had developed a re-stocking system for the ambulances within Penrith ambulance station, and this was so beneficial that it was rolled out to other Cumbria ambulance stations. He overhauled the system due to the errors in labelling, stock replacements not being obvious and a lack of storage with items being pushed into cupboards. He wanted to ensure the patient receiving care would not have their experience on the ambulance worsened due to the state of the ambulance. 

Next, we have a joint approach regarding the selling concept in the Communications and Patient Engagement teams. We display a range of campaigns where we 'encourage' members of the public to use the ambulance service wisely. This can be through social media posts, videos on YouTube, printed posters or leaflets, and speaking to people who attend our patient engagement hosted events. Many of our campaigns have been born from data and statistics we receive on specific parameters on why people are calling (this could be repeat prescriptions or falls-related injuries) and how that call is taking up the 'space' of someone who could be having a cardiac arrest, stroke or otherwise. Crafting campaigns to meet this helps us reduce demand by constantly reminding and educating the public.

Lastly, besides selling, the final two we align with are the marketing and social marketing concepts. These concepts involve understanding customer needs and wants and developing plans to meet them. As well as understanding the link between customer satisfaction and the role marketing has on a society. For example, at NWAS, we are proud to have a range of staff networks for staff to join who may have formerly been in the armed forces, part of the LGBT+ network, a person of colour or have a disability. These networks bring staff members together and provide a place of support. As well as these networks, we provide much support to our patients. We have volunteering opportunities that allow retirees or public members to give something back and become Patient and Public Panel members, community first responders who will give CPR and attend to those unwell locally, and volunteer car drivers. Due to the feedback surveys completed on ambulances and other places, we can calculate which companies are the hardest to reach, which need more support and care, and what is challenging paramedics to be able to help all people who need it, whether this is by using an app called Language Line developed by the patient engagement team to converse with patients who don't speak English or the deaf community. Or by regularly speaking to local community groups to understand the best way of presenting this information and different cultural or religious beliefs.

Understanding our target demographics is integral and essential within all concepts. We regularly look at our target audience to understand the best ways of communicating with people of different age groups, races, genders, and more.

Laws & Regulations

The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) must adhere to a wide range of laws and regulations to provide safe and effective emergency medical services to the public.

Being a public-sector organisation, we must ensure our patients and communities (both online and digital) know the legal requirements and laws we uphold ourselves to. This is also an essential part of working for the organisation as staff must be aware of the laws, regulations and protocols we follow to prevent accidents, risk or harm as much as possible. 

We follow many different laws and regulations at NWAS. The first law we follow is the Health and Social Care Act 2012. We do this by prioritising patient care, maintaining and reviewing our services to ensure their high quality, maintaining open and transparent communication with our patients, staff, volunteers and stakeholders and prioritising the safety and protection of all the people we serve. In addition, we commit to continuous improvement, integration with our other health and social care providers and giving patients informed choices and the power to decide their care.


Following on from the above is The Care Act 2014. This act outlines the framework for providing care and support to adults in England. It includes several provisions relevant to NWAS, such as the duty to assess the needs of adults who are considering receiving care, the duty to provide care and support to adults who need it, and the duty to safeguard the welfare of adults who are receiving care.

The law after this is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Ensuring our employees' health, safety, and welfare at work is paramount to NWAS. We take continuous steps to ensure we comply with all relevant provisions of this act, such as the duty to provide a safe working environment, risk assess work activities, and provide training and instruction to employees.

The next act is the Data Protection Act 2018. This came to fruition after a culmination of different patients were harmed due to data losses. In NWAS, we follow this law by complying with all relevant provisions of this act, such as the principle that personal data must be processed lawfully, fairly, and in a transparent manner, and the principle that personal data must be adequate, relevant, and limited to what is necessary for the purposes for which it is processed.

Lastly, another act we must align with is the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which gives individuals the right to request access to information held by public authorities. The FOIA is intended to promote transparency and accountability in government and allow individuals to see how their tax money is being spent. We have an FOI officer who manages our requests, a clear and accessible FOI policy that sets out its procedures for handling FOI requests, and regular FOI training to improve the processes and resist them being overdue or closed late.


The North West Ambulance Service is led by its CEO, who is advised by the board of directors and non-executive directors, who also report to the board's chair. 

Besides the patient-facing services within the trust, the directors on the board are the heads of different corporate services. The deputy CEO leads our directorate within the corporate services, Strategy, Partnership and Transformation. In addition to our directorate, there is also the Medical, Finance, Quality, Innovation and Improvement directorate, and many others. 

At NWAS, we use a matrix organisational structure, a hybrid of functional and divisional structures. In a matrix structure, employees report to multiple managers, typically functional and project managers. This structure is designed to create a more flexible and responsive organization that can adapt to changing needs.

Employing the matrix structure aligns well with our mission of providing high-quality emergency and non-emergency ambulance services to patients in the North West region of England. The structure allows us to combine the benefits of functional and divisional structures, such as the specialisation of skills and knowledge, with flexibility and responsiveness to market changes.

I think there could be potential conflict regarding having a matrix system. In areas like 111, it can be challenging to know who to go to, or there could be a feeling of confidentiality breaches. If you want to go to a manager in confidence, having more could mean private discussions are shared. Conversely, having more managers within a team means people are more likely to progress and upskill due to the supportive discussion around development. 

SWOT Analysis


  • Strong reputation for providing high-quality care

  • Strong partnerships with other healthcare providers

  • Effective communication and engagement with the community

  • Commitment to continuous improvement

  • Experienced and dedicated staff


  • Limited resources

  • Reliance on government funding

  • Limited public awareness of services

  • Limited ability to control patient demand

  • Communities continue to grow

  • Limited ability to recruit and retain staff


  • Increasing demand for emergency medical services

  • Increasing prevalence of chronic conditions

  • Developing new partnerships with community organizations

  • Expanding into non-emergency transportation services

  • Expanding into telemedicine services


  • Increasing competition from private ambulance providers

  • Technological advancements

  • New regulations impeding patient care

  • Negative media coverage

  • Natural disasters


Primary competitors

Our primary competitors are competitors who release or have a similar product or service to our services. 

Due to being a public sector organisation under the banner of the NHS, we aren't competing with the other UK ambulance trusts. However, the other trusts are competitors regarding engagement, likes, follows, and content we produce because we want to strive for higher public engagement and following. We include the other trust within our overall competitor audit analysis because we produce similar content, have comparable services and our target audiences, demographic-wise, match each other.


Another reason why other ambulance trusts are our primary competitors is because the general public holds us to a similar standard. If another provider experiences a reputational blow, the public's opinion of us could also sour. We have to understand the risks of association with other trusts and be extremely careful of what we post on social media, how we comply with laws and regulations and how we can best hone our relationship with our communities within the north west area. Regarding social media presence, we have an impressive reach compared to the other trusts.

Secondary competitors

Similarly to what has been mentioned above regarding being under the 'NHS umbrella', we also want to have an amicable relationship with the NHS providers within the northwest. But, again, as mentioned above, this is also a somewhat competitive relationship as we want to keep and increase our engagement and follower levels, be the first person on the scene to provide emergency or essential information first hand and produce engaging content. 

In the north west, there are over 20 NHS trusts that the public access and though we assist and support them, we also need to be aware of potential risks they could pose. If many ambulances are waiting at A&E, we don't want our followers to think poorly of us, but we also don't want anyone to think poorly of the hospital. Being knowledgeable of our secondary competitors means we are aware of the risks they could pose but also have a quid pro quo relationship. 

map of north west of England

Tertiary competitors

Private sector ambulances are our tertiary competition because they offer a different level of service and cater to a different clientele. While NWAS provides emergency medical services to the general public, private ambulance companies typically focus on non-emergency patient transport, specialised medical transport, and long-distance patient transfers.

image of little girl injured after bike riding and other woman leaning down holding first aid kit
group of ambulances outside hospital
bottom of page