Behind the managers behind those front-line paramedics sits a business intelligence (BI) team of some 20 people. However, Simon Mortimore, assistant director for business information at the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) NHS Foundation Trust, is no stranger to the inside of an ambulance. He can sometimes be found carrying things for his paramedic colleagues. This is perhaps why he reaches for a driving analogy when talking about the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic: “It was like driving in fog at high speed.”
The service’s data function has had to move at incredible speed during the crisis, which has proved the value of its use of Qlik business intelligence software, says Mortimore’s colleague Vivienne Parsons, specialist business analyst at the SCAS NHS Foundation Trust. Speed, but also being able to join up different data stores, such as those from Ordnance Survey – location data is crucial to an ambulance operation. Parsons adds: “We’re fortunate to have Ordnance Survey on our doorstep [in Southampton]. We’ve built a perfect relationship with them over the last few years. That was probably the start of our journey with looking at other datasets, just realizing how important they were.