Trial sees fewer patients taken to A&E

Nurses and paramedics combine to find alternatives to hospital admission.

A trial which sees advanced nurse practitioners working with paramedics in the control room at West Midlands Ambulance Service is bringing real benefits to patients and staff.

The programme that is being run by the Emergency Care Intensive Support Team from NHS Improvement, has seen advanced nurse practitioners from Royal Wolverhampton Trust working with the Emergency Clinical Co-ordination Paramedics in the WMAS Strategic Capacity Cell.

Strategic Operations Cell Commander, Martyn Pugh, said: “We have already seen a significant number of additional patients diverted away from being taken to A&E by ambulance due to the work of the paramedics in the strategic capacity cell.

“These paramedics work with the crews on the ambulance to find alternative ways to provide additional treatment to patients rather than have them taken to A&E. This could be by referring them to other healthcare staff such as district nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and access to social care support.

“What this new programme brings is the chance for the paramedics at the scene to talk to the advanced nurse practitioners have specialisms in community health care. This ranges from help with long term conditions, infections, respiratory and cardiac conditions.

“We are finding that many of these patients already receive care from the community health services and the advanced nurse practitioners are able to do access those details which allows the most appropriate support to be given. At this stage we are only working in the Wolverhampton area, but we will also be running a similar trial involving services in Shropshire.”

Emergency Clinical Co-ordination Paramedic, Scott Harris added: “There is no question that everyone benefits: many more patients are treated at home; it means ambulances are available more quickly to respond to the next call; it reduces the pressure on the hospital A&E Departments; and community health services can continue with their care plans for these patients.”

At this stage the pilot is being used as a proof of concept. Once the feedback from the project has been analysed, it is hoped that changes could be introduced more widely that would allow closer working between ambulance staff and community health care services.