Groundbreaking Paramedic scheme extended

Monday, 02 June, 2008

From left to right, Paramedic Al Day, Locality Manager Julie Wilson and Paramedic Steve Deighton

A groundbreaking scheme to provide communities in South Huddersfield with their own paramedic has been extended to operate beyond its initial year.

The scheme, which was launched in September 2006, has helped to further improve patient care in the rural area by having a paramedic based at Skelmanthorpe GP Surgery, for varying hours between 8am and midnight, seven days a week. Equipped with a Rapid Response Vehicle, the paramedic primarily responds to Category A emergency 999 calls in the South Huddersfield area.

In addition, the community-based role involves working to improve the health of the local people in partnership with other primary healthcare providers, such as GPs and district nurses. Local residents are also educated about how the ambulance service works and the correct way to use it.

In conjunction with South Huddersfield Primary Care Trust, Robert Eastwood, Locality Manager for Calderdale at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, helped to secure the extra funding required for the scheme to continue.

He said, "This innovative project is the first in West Yorkshire and has gone down very well with local residents. Currently the scheme in isolation is achieving 79 percent% on Category A performance and is standing down over 50% of ambulances which have been dispatched to the same emergency. In addition, over 50 per cent of patients attended by the Community Paramedics have not been conveyed to hospital which has resulted in there being more resources available for emergency calls.

"I believe that this bears testament to the success of the scheme and thank everyone for the part they have played."
Four YAS paramedics - Al Day, Steve Deighton, David Adam and Colin Stroud -operate the Community Paramedic rota and have been instrumental in the scheme's success.

Al Day, who has been involved with the scheme since its launch, has enjoyed working as part of the community team. He said, "We have been able to get to know the residents better, be proactive in our approach and address the real needs of communities by working within them.
"I think people always feel that villages in rural areas are incredibly isolated, but the fact that the team is here seven days a week to respond to 999 calls has provided residents with a huge reassurance."

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