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Core offered a full migration service to Office 365 that allowed EMAS to take advantage of the simplicity of a subscription-based service.

Leon Judge Deputy Head of ICT, EMAS



  • EMAS have 100 managers across a 6500 square-mile area and 2500 front-line staff
  • The service operates across 5 counties throughout the UK
  • EMAS operate a 24-hour service & respond to over 670,000 emergency calls yearly
  • One of healthcare’s earliest adapters of Microsoft Office 365
  • Using Lync Online to run roundtables with managers & CEO

East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EMAS) provides emergency 999, urgent care services for the 4.8 million people within Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire (including North and North East Lincolnshire), Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire. They employ over 3200 staff at more than 70 locations, including two control rooms at Nottingham and Lincoln.

They respond to over 670,000 emergency calls every year and are continuously delivering improvements in the treatment of patients, use of technology and opportunities for staff as they move forward to provide high-quality care and to build on the significant advances made in recent years.

Early Office 365 adapter

It is this use of technology that has seen EMAS become one of healthcare’s earliest adopter of Office 365, Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud services platform. EMAS has progressively rolled out more components of Office 365 to more users across the past twelve months, creating a consultative environment in which seismic change can still power forward as an infinitely low cost.

As Microsoft Office 365 uses familiar interfaces the normal bed-down time for new deployments is reduced and EMAS are already starting to see demonstrable and highly scalable results. Most recently using Lync, Microsoft’s unified communications system (included in Office 365) in the first of a pioneering series of monthly videoconferences between EMAS Chief Executive Phil Milligan and more than 100 managers across the five counties which EMAS serves.

Leon Judge, EMAS Deputy Head of ICT, says “We have over 100 managers spread across a 6500 square-mile area and 2,500 frontline staff. Our Chief Executive knows that we are going through a significant period of change and wanted a two-way dialogue with his managers, along with any staff who happened to be available. Email bulletins and newsletters are traditional ways of communicating but they are only one-way and perceived as ‘top-down’. With Lync, he can capture all the comments and suggestions being fed back from people on the ground in real-time, and that gives us a much more consultative approach.”

It is this inclusive environment that is so important to EMAS in a time when all Public Sector organisations are going through sizeable changes and being squeezed, Judge continues “I’ve been part of this as a manager on-site myself, it’s amazing to see managers who spend most of their time out on the road – they’re paramedics in their greens, working real shifts –devoting their valuable time to be a part of the videoconference”.

The reason for the enthusiasm and high buy-in is that video, as a medium, encourages participation and interaction. Plus Lync is realtime: “It’s slick: we’re gathering feedback and answering questions live rather than having to have emails sent in and days passing by before staff get a response to their suggestions.”

“With Office 365 we can manage our subscriptions with a few clicks in a management portal and have people up and running in minutes.”

Leon Judge Deputy Head of ICT, EMAS

Lync in action

In action, the RoundTable system is simple to use for both the hosts and the many staff dispersed across the EMAS ‘patch’. Milligan and his senior team are visible to all participants at once, and then, when questions are invited, the system will switch focus to the person speaking, wherever they may be: it is effectively an auditorium with full two-way video.

Being pro-technology, EMAS Chief Executive Milligan has taken something of a lead here and his inaugural videoconference was live and unmoderated beyond basic facilitation. Reaction has been positive: “Yes, he’s on the spot, but how many organisations can say that all staff, whatever their role can have a direct line to the Chief Executive?” says Judge. “It’s not confrontational, it means knowledge from the front line can reach the boardroom fast, and inform decision-making for everyone.”

Despite reaching over 100 individuals at once, technical administration of Lync is painless. Judge says, “When we first examined Office 365, the key challenge was that we needed to deploy both quickly and cost-effectively. We don’t have the time or the money to invest in massive local infrastructure, and with Office 365 we can manage our subscriptions with a few clicks in a management portal and have people up and running in minutes.

So the IT team haven’t been burdened with maintenance and deployment - it becomes more of an administrative task for us.” This is where Core came in, they were able to offer a full consultative and migration service to Office 365 that allowed EMAS to take advantage of the simplicity of a subscription-based service that allows for easy expansion of contraction without large capital expenditure and planning of services.

Next Steps

The videoconference may well come to be seen as a defining moment in the take-up of Lync across EMAS. “I’m now seeing our managers using technology on a person-to-person or person-to-team basis to communicate across the patch themselves, and they’re starting to rely on it”, says Judge. “When I log in to Lync and see the list of people online, it’s increasing. We also have a growing waiting list of users to activate”.


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