Murray MacGregor – Wednesday 15th March 2023 – 12.01am.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We are pleased that the CQC inspectors recognised the enormous lengths that our staff have gone to, to look after patients while they deal with excessive hospital handover delays. As a Trust, we absolutely recognise the impact these delays have on the health and wellbeing of our staff, as they do all they can to cope with these very difficult conditions.
“Sadly, as the report points out, we have seen some patients wait a very long time for ambulances to arrive as a result of the hospital delays, with the resultant increased risk to patients both waiting for an ambulance and those left on ambulance stretchers for very long periods.
“The Trust has invested heavily in ensuring there is 24 hour support for staff on all of our hubs as well as improvements in the wellbeing support available such employing three mental wellbeing practitioners, dedicated peer to peer and online support.
“There has been a significant improvement since the turn of the year with delays reduced at hospitals across the region, which has allowed ambulances to get to patients more quickly than we have seen for many months. We will continue to work with the hospitals to find new ways of reducing the time that patients are left on ambulances so that our crews can respond more quickly to patients in the community and save more lives.”
- Less than half of our patients are taken to A&E.
- The Trust piloted a new scheme which sees around 40% of Category 2 calls being triaged by clinicians rather than an ambulance being sent automatically. It means those most in need (e.g. strokes and heart attacks) are getting ambulances more quickly. Nearly half of calls clinically validated were closed with advice or referred to an alternative service, though a small percentage were upgraded to Category 1, the most urgent. Overall, more patients were seen more quickly than before the trial.
- The Trust has set up Ambulance Decision Areas in hospitals in Birmingham, Shropshire and Worcestershire. Advanced paramedics and ambulance healthcare assistants take a handover from crews and start the patient’s treatment even before they get to A&E. This frees up ambulance crews more quickly so that they can respond to patients in the community.
- Throughout the winter, Assistant Chief Ambulance Officers have been working 16 hours a day to ensure our resources are used as efficiently as possible so that we can support staff and help patients.
The report will be published on the CQC website on Wednesday 15th March.