Delivery of public health interventions by the ambulance sector: a scoping review

With millions of unscheduled patient contacts every year and increasing call outs clustered around the most deprived communities, it is clear the ambulance sector could have a role to play in improving population health. However, the application and value of a public health approach within the ambulance sector has not been comprehensively explored.

A scoping review was undertaken to explore the role of the ambulance sector in the delivery of public health interventions and what impact this has on population health and ambulance sector outcomes.

A search strategy was developed on MEDLINE and translated to other major medical and health related bibliographic databases (Embase; CINAHL; HMIC; Science and Social Sciences Citation Index; Cochrane Library) to identify literature published since 2000 in OECD countries. Targeted grey literature, reference list, and citation searching was also carried out.

Search results were downloaded to Microsoft Excel and screened by three reviewers according to pre-determined inclusion / exclusion criteria. Data from included studies, such as the type of activity noted within the paper, the population involved and the public health approach that was utilised, was extracted from within the paper using a data extraction form and narratively synthesised.

Authors and Affiliations

School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), The University of Sheffield, S1 4DA, Sheffield, England

Suzanne Ablard, Anna Cantrell, Andrew Booth, Andrew Lee & Suzanne Mason

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust Headquarters, Springhill 2 Brindley Way, WF2 0XQ, Wakefield, England

Elisha Miller, Steven Poulton & Fiona Bell


AC designed the search strategy and conducted the database searches and grey literature searches. SA, EM, and SP conducted the data selection, data extraction and analysis. AB, AL, SM, and FB provided expert advice throughout the review process. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ information

SA (Research Associate). EM (Research Paramedic. SP (Research Paramedic). AC (Senior Information Specialist). AB (Professor in Evidence Based Information Practice). AL (Professor in Global Public Health). SM (Professor in Emergency Medicine). FB (Head of Research Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust)