Between 1st April and 30th September 2013, the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) saved approximately 5,864 ambulances from being sent out unnecessarily, thanks to one specific department – the Urgent Care Desk.
For many patients who call 999, Accident & Emergency departments are not the right place for their treatment so this particular role within the service is extremely important and ensures that patients get the right care, in the right time and in the right place and ambulances are available for those who need them most.
The stats, published as part of NWAS’s #Team999 campaign – which aims to educate the public that not all calls to 999 require an ambulance, or result in a trip to hospital – highlights that there is a significant need to educate the public across the North West about when to call 999, and what might happen when they do.
Speaking about her role on the Urgent Care Desk, specialist paramedic, Carol Robertson, one of the representatives of #Team999, said:
“I often answer calls where people are ill but their condition is not serious and can be treated at home.”
“We don’t want to discourage people from calling 999 but it’s important they understand that calls can result in their ailment being treated within the community or even at home, and they won’t necessarily receive an ambulance response or be taken to hospital.”
Between 1st April and 30th September 2013, the Urgent Care Desk referred 23 per cent of their calls to an alternative care pathway, including being given direct advice over the phone to allow patients to self-care (3% of calls), and being transferred (via phone) to another health service (10% of calls).
The majority of the patients receiving call backs from the Urgent Care Desk are over 65 years old, with the most common incidents including falls, abdominal pains, back pain or generally unwell.
“The Urgent Care Desk is an invaluable resource and helps ensure all patients receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
Over the next six months, the representatives of #Team999 will be introduced one by one to enable the public to get a greater understanding of their roles and the part they play within NWAS and patients’ lives.
The representatives will each take part in activities and events including live Twitter Q&A sessions, roadshows and short films – giving the public a glimpse into the day to day responsibilities of the full team.
“Through the various aspects of #Team999, we hope to raise public awareness about the North West Ambulance Service so they receive treatment which is appropriate to their needs and also frees up emergency vehicles so they are more readily available for emergencies.”