Systematic review of blue-light service collaboration for community health and well-being

Nadine Dougall, Stephen MacGillivray, Inga Heyman, Andrew Wooff, Andrew Tatnell

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Effective cross-service collaboration has been posed as a way of improving outcomes for people, enhancing community safety and well-being, reducing social and health inequalities, and improving service resource efficiencies. However, it was not known what evidence and frameworks existed for service leads to reform collaborative public service responses.

This systematic review aimed to summarize evidence to understand best ways for police, fire, and ambulance services to collaborate to improve community safety and well-being. Standard methodology was used following PRISMA guidance. The search strategy optimized report retrieval from a broad range of academic databases, grey literature, and citation handsearching from January 2012 to March 2022. Endnote 8 supported data management. Eligible reports explored collaboration benefits between any two emergency services to improve any aspect of community safety or well-being and had to provide relevant extractable information. Critical appraisal and syntheses of findings were conducted. Studies could originate from any country. Records were screened and retrieved by one author and included reports independently double-screened.

From the academic databases, 4,648 reports were identified and screened, of which 25 reports were retrieved and assessed for eligibility, but no relevant studies were retained following full text review. A further 27 records were identified from websites and citation searching, of which three were included following eligibility checks. The scant evidence uncovered in this review tentatively suggests service collaboration initiatives have potential for decreased resource use, increased public confidence, faster responses, increased survival rates, and reduced unnecessary emergency responses. Robust evidence is needed to influence policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Community Safety and Well-Being
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2023


  • Police, fire, and ambulance joint response
  • emergency response
  • inequality
  • resource use
  • partnership working
  • connected working


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