Tuesday 11th June – 12.30pm – John Hawker
For the first time, Southam has its first ever dedicated team of paramedics at their own dedicated station.
A Community Ambulance Station has opened within the town’s Warwick House Business Park with paramedics responding to 999 calls from there in the area since the 1st April, using a rapid response vehicle.
The team consists of three staff; two Emergency Care Practitioners (ECP) and an Advanced Paramedic. The ECPs both started their careers in nursing with one specialising as a Paediatric Nurse and the other having previously worked as a Practice Nurse in the town before joining the Ambulance Service. The third member of the team is an experienced Paramedic is currently completing extended training on patient assessment and wound Care.
All three members of staff received additional training and gained extra skills (such as urine-testing) and treatment procedures (such as wound care) that traditionally would have meant taking the patient to A&E. They will increasingly be able to treat patients in the comfort of their own homes, or refer them for appropriate follow-up care without the need to take them to an acute hospital.
Area Manager for Warwickshire, Martyn Scott, said: “The Community Paramedic Scheme is staffed twelve hours a day from the new community site based in Southam. It is hoped the team of paramedics with advanced training, will become integrated within the local Health Care Community, have referral pathways and work alongside other healthcare providers in the town and surrounding villages.
“The team will work alongside the already established team of volunteer Community First Responders in the area to provide them with training and support to ensure the communities in and around Southam receive the best possible pre-hospital emergency care.”
Emergency Care Practitioner, Mandy Morrice, said: “I live in the area of Southam and have been in the ambulance service for 9 years. Previously I worked as a Nurse for 25 years. I am looking forward to working in my local community and trying to ensure that people get the best possible care. Our advanced training will ensure that only people who really need to go to hospital and need further treatment will do so. Hopefully more people will receive treatment in their own homes.”
In the first four weeks of the scheme going live, the paramedics attended 108 calls in the local area and also attended community events.
Martyn Scott said lastly: “Dedicated to Southam and the immediate surrounding area, the Community Paramedics are able to bring more A&E skills to the patient, instead of having to take patients to A&E.
“The old image of the ambulance service many years ago was that all they did was take patients to hospital; that ambulances and its staff didn’t do much treating, just transporting. I am delighted that this has changed and the aim now is to ultimately reduce the number of people we take to A&E with paramedics treating things like minor wounds and cuts at home without having to take the patient to hospital.
“We firmly believe that the public’s expectation of an ambulance taking every patient to an A&E should be a thing of the past. There are often more appropriate ways to treat a patient and these are better for patient and the NHS as a whole.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service are also in the process of securing locations and setting up further Community Paramedic Schemes. Schemes will vary in hours of operation from 12-24 hours, 7 days a week.
The move is part of West Midlands Ambulance Service’s ‘Make Ready’ Project. In addition to new teams of advanced paramedics, a new network of Community Ambulance Stations, such as schemes in Shipston-on-Stour, Kenilworth and Stratford-Upon-Avon are in the process of being set up.
Two Ambulance Service Hubs will be opening in Coventry and Warwick in the next few months which will be brand new purpose built facilities which will ensure that ambulance staff will spend more time out on the road treating patients, than completing other tasks such as cleaning and restocking ambulances. These tasks will be done by other specialist teams of Ambulance Fleet Assistants.
Area Manager Martyn Scott pictured with ECP Mandy Morrice.