Feedback for Emergency Ambulance Staff: A National Review of Current Practice Informed by Realist Evaluation Methodology

Caitlin Wilson, Gillian Janes, Rebecca Lawton, Jonathan Benn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research suggests that feedback in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) positively affects quality of care and professional development. However, the mechanisms by which feedback achieves its effects still need to be better understood across healthcare settings. This study aimed to understand how United Kingdom (UK) ambulance services provide feedback for EMS professionals and develop a programme theory of how feedback works within EMS, using a mixed-methods, realist evaluation framework. A national cross-sectional survey was conducted to identify feedback initiatives in UK ambulance services, followed by four in-depth case studies involving qualitative interviews and documentary analysis. We used qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics to analyse survey responses from 40 prehospital feedback initiatives, alongside retroductive analysis of 17 interviews and six documents from case study sites. Feedback initiatives mainly provided individual patient outcome feedback through "pull" initiatives triggered by staff requests. Challenges related to information governance were identified. Our programme theory of feedback to EMS professionals encompassed context (healthcare professional and organisational characteristics), mechanisms (feedback and implementation characteristics, psychological reasoning) and outcomes (implementation, staff and service outcomes). This study suggests that most UK ambulance services use a range of feedback initiatives and provides 24 empirically based testable hypotheses for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Feedback for Emergency Ambulance Staff: A National Review of Current Practice Informed by Realist Evaluation Methodology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this