Tameside and Glossop IC FT and the North West Ambulance Service have teamed up to pioneer a way of speeding up the response time for treatment and reducing the need for some people to be admitted into A&E.
The ‘Hear & Treat’ response means that 999 calls for non-urgent patients will be taken up by the hospital’s community team of doctors and nurses, eliminating the need for the dispatch of an ambulance.
The six-month pilot - believed to be the first in the North West - will support those patients across Tameside and Glossop who have called an ambulance and have been categorised as non-urgent.
Emergency Nurse Practioner, Peter Grace is leading the project for the hospital. He says: “ the team are looking at patients that are in the less serious categories to offer assistance and intervention to get a speedy response and reduce the need for hospital where it is safe.
“The pilot only started last month so we have a lot to learn, but we do anticipate that, in time, we will make a real difference once the winter months hit and support the achievement of the 95 per cent waiting times which are standard for A&E.”
Already the team have clocked up some successes. Of the calls they’ve responded to already, nine people were treated at home or work with no need for hospital treatment.
Rob Wood for NWAS says “This pilot aims to provide the right care at the right place for patients, providing a timely response from the appropriate community team. This pilot benefits both the Ambulance service and the A&E Department allowing resources to respond to more life threatening conditions”.
Karen James, Chief Executive of Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT says estimates suggest that across the country between 1.5 and 3 million people who come to A&E each year could have their needs addressed in other parts of the urgent care system. She explains: “They turn to A&E because it seems like the best or only option. The rising pressures on A&E services also stem from continued growth in levels of emergency admissions and from delayed transfers of care when patients are fit to leave hospital.
“Its early days but I believe this has the capacity to save money across our health economy, for the Ambulance service and for our A&E departments. It will free up bed capacity, and most importantly ensure our patients are getting the right care by the right team at the right time. “