A ‘999’ call for an ambulance in Shropshire could result in a visit from a Shropdoc General Practitioner.
Around 25 GPs from Shropdoc are providing support to West Midlands Ambulance Service 4 days a week (Monday to Friday) until July 2013.
The GPs will receive requests to assess patients who do not require a trip to A&E from paramedics in the community or in the Control Centre in Brierley Hill.
The aim of the scheme is to provide high quality care closer to the patient’s home. This will help reduce the number of inappropriate admissions to hospital and unnecessary visits to the A&E departments.
Shropshire County and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups are supporting the scheme by providing funding for the next 4 months.
The scheme went live with its first shift on Monday 18th March. Dr. Edwin O’Bazee (pictured) was the duty GP on shift on Friday 22nd March. He said: “I was keen to practice in primary care, dealing with patients out in the community rather than in a surgery.”
Simon Taylor, West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Clinical Practice and Governance Manager for Shropshire said: “Working together with Shropdoc will bring many great improvements to the speed and quality of the care and treatments we can bring to our patients. Our ambulance crews can call on the duty GP to administer antibiotics, muscle relaxants and analgesia for example. The GPs can also quickly refer patients to other areas of the health service to ensure more of them get the right care in the right place at the right time, first time.”
Dr. Gill Clements, Medical Director of Shropdoc, said: “We are delighted to be offered the opportunity to work more closely with West Midlands paramedics to ensure that patients receive the most appropriate care in their homes or community wherever possible and safe to do so.”
Dr. Bill Gowans, Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Vice Chairman, said: “As local GPs we know that some patients who call 999 do not need to be taken to hospital. We have worked closely with Shropdoc, who have led this pilot, to ensure patients who do not need A&E services can access GP clinical advice. Not only will this save patients an unnecessary journey but it will also hopefully reduce demand on A&E and free up ambulances. We know locally there have been concerns raised about the ambulance response times and this is one way we are working with West Midlands Ambulance Service to look at demand and ensure patients have access to the right treatment at the right time.”
Dr Mike Innes, Chair of Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Not all calls to 999 need to result in a visit to A&E, wherever possible we are committed to ensuring patients can be treated closer to home. However, we know that for some non life threatening conditions paramedics need access to GP advice and support. All NHS services need to work together, to help reduce demand on NHS services and this is a good example of clinicians working together to ensure patients get access to the best possible care.”