Falls car for south Essex

Monday, 15 November, 2010

A pilot underway in the East of England Ambulance Service Southend area to ensure the right care at the right time for patients is being deemed a success.

The falls car recently went 'live' for jobs in the Southend and surrounding area and it will run between 7am-7pm, seven days a week for six months. There are two people on board the fully kitted out car, including an emergency care practitioner. The car is targeted to attend calls coded as 'falls' and has recently been opened up to attend the 'sick/unwell' code meaning it has more scope for more jobs.

Southend assistant general manager Lisa Fautley said the pilot was being run with NHS South East Essex primary care trust. She added: "The car has been working for six weeks now and of all the calls attended it has an admission avoidance rate of 72% which is excellent. Of these, multiple patients have been referred to other community teams for further care and support.

"The ECP assess and decides on referral pathways to other community based services such as the long term condition team, falls team, rapid response and district nursing teams, to name but a few - the idea is around admission avoidance and looking at community-based answers such as social services, and hopefully to keep more people at home.

"The ECPs on this car are also now referring patients directly to 'step-up' beds whereas this group of patients would have had to go via A&E previously. We've had excellent feedback on this, and are also considering extending the pilot." This service redesign initiative is as a direct result of the award winning pilot undertaken in Hertfordshire.

Neil Storey, associate director - emergency operations, added: "It is extremely pleasing to see best practice being rolled out across the east of England, and we are currently in discussion with a number of other PCTs to explore the possibility of introducing this improved quality of care to patients."

The staff working on the car can also take phone calls from crews on scene to give advice and to look to refer to the other services, rather than the previous default being the A&E.

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