Wednesday 23rd April 2014 – 4.35pm – Murray MacGregor.
The challenges that face West Midlands Ambulance Service from ‘high volume service users’ who call 999 literally hundreds of times are laid bare on television tomorrow night, Thursday.
The Trust was one of a number of organisations that has been working on a series for BBC Two called ‘Protecting Our Parents’. Episode two on 24th April, ‘Who Decides?’, explores the dilemma faced by elderly care services when trying to keep people at home. It follows Kathleen and Leonard Price who have lived in the same house, in Birmingham, for 50 years. Kathleen is bed-bound and receives Social Services’ maximum support of four visits a day by carers.
But in just three months, she’s called 999 over 150 times. The couple want to stay at home but Kathleen’s care package isn’t meeting her needs. She would like 24-hour care at home, but can’t afford to pay for it.
WMAS Head of Clinical Practice, Rob Cole, said: “The programme makes uncomfortable viewing as we get a real insight into the difficulties that patients such as Kathleen and Leonard face. We have worked very hard with other agencies to try and ensure that the couple have alternatives to dialling 999.
“Unfortunately, their case is not such an unusual one. As an organisation we are increasingly trying to find innovative solutions for other people in similar situations.
“It is only by working together that we are able to find solutions that enable patients to stop ringing 999 so often.”
Series Producer, Alice Perman, said: “It was a very emotionally demanding project; you try and keep an emotional distance but it can be very hard. There is an inherent tension of the elderly trying to stay independent in their homes, with whether they are safe and getting the appropriate care.”
The programme airs on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC Two.