Wednesday 13th November 2013 – 6.00am – Murray MacGregor.
West Midlands Ambulance Service is welcoming the initial findings of Sir Bruce Keogh and his review into Urgent and Emergency Care.
The report calls for “a fundamental shift in provision of urgent care, with more extensive services outside hospital and patients with more serious or life threatening conditions receiving treatment in centres with the best clinical teams, expertise and equipment.”
WMAS Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “We very much welcome the report and its findings as it supports the views that we have been expressing for some time and in some cases what we are already doing in the West Midlands such as the Major Trauma Network.
“For us as an ambulance service, there are a number of key areas highlighted:
The report calls for 50% of ambulance patients to be treated at the scene.
As an organisation, the number of patients we are taking to A&E has been falling consistently for many years. Ten years ago over 70% went to hospital; now less than 60% travel and we are confident that we can meet the suggested figure of 50%.
Turn ambulance services into mobile urgent treatment services.
The skills that our paramedic staff now possess would previously only have been available in a hospital. Those skills are taken to the patient on a daily basis. This includes everything from diagnosing urinary infections to ensuring stroke patients get to a hyper-acute stroke service far more quickly than ever before.
Ambulance staff should play a key role in urgent care services outside hospital.
We have seen a number of innovative joint working schemes providing excellent care to patient outside hospital. This ranges from doctors working with paramedics on response vehicles to working with local authorities, the police and GPs. The additional training that we have been giving our staff now means they are better placed than ever to treat patients in the comfort of their own homes.
Public hold ambulance services in high regard and have become a victim of their own success.
Demand for the 999 service has been rising by around 5% each year for the last 15 years. Part of that is down to the public recognising the excellent job that our staff do in caring for their needs. The number of letters of compliment we receive is testament to the high regard that the public hold our staff in.
Enhance the 111 system.
There is widespread acceptance that the NHS has to get better at directing people to the right service and the 111 system can undoubtedly assist in that process. WMAS now provides the NHS 111 service in the majority of the region and we believe that we can assist in making it an even better service where people can get the assistance, reassurance and treatment options that they need in a timely manner which will reduce the pressure on A&E departments and the number of people calling for an ambulance.
Mr Marsh continued: “As someone who has been part of the national group helping write the report, I know how important it is that we make the changes outlined, so that patients get the care they need and support our staff to continue to provide the very best treatment.
“We have been developing many of the key themes over the last few years which have undoubtedly brought tremendous benefits to patients e.g. increasing our paramedic skill mix to ensure that every patient is attended to be a paramedic be it over the phone, or in person.”