New service keeps patients at home

Tuesday, 06 January, 2009

Jamie Roberts, Carl Pockett, Julian Porter. Picture courtesy of West Midlands Ambulance Service

West Midlands Ambulance service Patients are being treated in the comfort of their own home, without the need to go to A&E.

A new service has started in Telford and Wrekin, paid for by its Primary Care Trust.

Four paramedics with West Midlands Ambulance Service, Jamie Roberts, Julian Porter, Jennie Sears-Brown and Carl Pockett have undergone training to become Emergency Care Practitioners.

Carl Pockett said, "When someone calls 999 and asks for an ambulance, they will be assessed by the paramedic who attends. The patient could be referred to an Emergency Care Practitioner, if paramedics decide that would be better for the patient than a visit to A&E.

"This is a real shift change in the emphasis of the ambulance service of old. Years ago, the ambulance service used to be more of a 'patient-delivery service'; mainly taking people to hospitals. The new ECPs will actively work on avoiding unnecessary trips to A&E.

"We will carry with us a variety of drugs and treatments to be able to treat patients in the care of their own homes, if appropriate. If the patient needs to go to hospital, we will arrange for them to be referred directly to the appropriate department. We could find ourselves dealing with patients who have a social, rather than a medical need; again, appropriate care would be arranged.
"Our purpose is to keep ambulance crews and A&E beds free for those patients who really need them. Since the new service began, we have treated 82 patients, most of whom completely avoided a trip to A&E."

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