Collaborative approach to ambulance conveyance looks to improve patient care

Lincs FR badgeEMAS logoEast Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue (LFR) have secured £491,000 from the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Transformation Challenge Award fund to develop a pilot project aimed at improving the quality of service and outcomes for patients in Lincolnshire through the development of an innovative and complementary approach to ambulance provision in the county. The project is called the Joint Ambulance Conveyance Project (JACP).

The JACP will build on LFR’s existing co-responder scheme, run in partnership with EMAS and Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service (LIVES), in which on-call retained firefighters from 21 stations already respond to medical emergencies, delivering first aid, providing oxygen therapy and administering defibrillation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The JACP will see some co-responders being mobilised to medical incidents in an ambulance vehicle. At the same time, an EMAS paramedic will also respond to the incident in a fast response car. The paramedic will assess if the patient needs to go to hospital and, if so, will travel with the patient in the ambulance providing any necessary treatment en route. The main difference between current practice and the JACP is that LFR staff will have the capability of conveying a patient to hospital rather than having to wait at the scene until an EMAS ambulance arrives.

This collaborative approach will help support more timely patient conveyance while ensuring the highest level of clinical intervention possible, therefore supporting better recovery and improved chances of survival for patients. It will also aim to deliver more effective and value for money services in the future.

The pilot will be run from Long Sutton, Stamford and Woodhall Spa fire stations. These locations have been selected as the retained firefighters at these stations already co-respond, they have indicated their availability to undertake the pilot and the locations support EMAS’ priorities. The pilot will start in July and last for 12 months. This will allow the concept to be fully tested and a robust evaluation undertaken. On completion of the pilot the outcomes will be assessed and, following further consultation, a decision taken on whether the scheme should be continued and expanded to other areas of the county.

The firefighter co-responders participating in the pilot will undertake some additional clinical and driver training starting in June. This will be conducted by EMAS and LIVES. LIVES will also cover all Care Quality Commission Registration requirements.