A scheme to support paramedics when they respond to 999 calls and reduce the number of patients being admitted to hospital was presented at ‘The role of Ambulance and Paramedic Services in Delivering Urgent Care’ conference in March and received very positive feedback from the attendees.
The GPs with Ambulance scheme is run in partnership between the three Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and West Midlands Ambulance service (WMAS), commissioning GPs to work alongside paramedics when called out, if it’s felt a patient would be better cared for by a GP rather than in hospital.
By employing GPs to work with paramedics, it has helped to free up ambulance crews to attend life-threatening emergencies and eased pressure on emergency departments and local hospital beds. It has also helped to provide a better service for patients as GPs and ambulance services work more closely to provide care to patients closer to home.
Since the launch of the scheme in October 2012, more than 2900 emergency calls have been dealt with by GPs, preventing over 2300 A&E attendances by ensuring care is accessed quickly. It’s estimated that the scheme so far has made over £2.5m in savings for the NHS.
Dr Nikki Burger, Urgent Care Clinical Lead for NHS South Worcestershire CCG, made the presentation with Michelle Brotherton, General Manager for WMAS NHS Foundation Trust. Dr Burger said, “This scheme has gone from strength to strength since its launch. The pressures on emergency services are being felt all over the country and we have been really proud of the results that have been achieved in reducing numbers attending A&E.
Michelle Brotherton, said, “The use of GPs in this way has been the right thing to do for patients, not all of whom need to go to A&E. The duty GPs also provide sound clinical advice to ambulance staff which, in turn, increases their confidence when seeking appropriate alternative places for treatments. This scheme has been popular with our own staff and we have been asked by other ambulance services to present our findings.”