• A new director of people and culture to join the capital’s ambulance service in September
  • Promises to improve visible diversity and inclusion at the trust

London’s ambulance trust has hired a new HR director from a major English police force.

Ali Layne-Smith will join the London Ambulance Service Trust’s over 5,000-strong workforce in September.

She spent the past two and a half years as West Midlands Police’s first director of people and organisation development.

Ms Layne-Smith “is particularly committed to diversity and inclusion, especially visible diversity which she has pledged to improve when she joins the trust,” LAS said in a statement.

LAS was taken out of special measures by NHS Improvement in May 2018 and has shown significant improvements on several NHS staff survey questions, including on staff reporting good communication between management and staff.

However, the challenges of working in the second largest ambulance trust in England are evident with more than half the staff reporting they had been bullied, abused or harassed by the public in the preceding year.

This has put a strain on the workforce, with more than half staff saying they had been off sick in the past year with work-related stress, the second highest score among England’s ambulance trusts.

Ms Layne-Smith will take over from Patricia Grealish who will leave the post at the end of the month.

Trust chief executive Garrett Emmerson said: “We’ve made great strides thanks to Patricia who has led our people and culture directorate with great success and developed an inspirational people and culture strategy that has tangibly improved the experience of working in our Service.

“Ensuring we have a welcoming and progressive culture where everyone feels valued, coupled with increasing our visible diversity at the trust so our workforce is more representative of the population we serve are the top priorities for our people and culture directorate.”