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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Plans aim to increase Morecambe Bay ambulance efficiency

RADICAL changes to the ways paramedics work are being introduced to cope with ever-changing demands on NHS services.

The North West Ambulance Service is rolling out a series of innovative new projects across South Cumbria in a bid to ease the pressures on hospital resources.

Rick Shaw, NWAS sector manager for Morecambe Bay, said the service’s Community Care Pathways scheme will allow paramedics to refer patients to community health professionals rather than taking them to Accident and Emergency.

Patients who already have certain conditions or are identified as at risk will be given care plans by specialist teams so, in emergencies, ambulance staff have the information needed to decide how best to treat them.

The system is already in place in North Lancashire and should go live in Furness and the South Lakes in March or April.

Mr Shaw said: “Ambulance services across the UK are seeing an increase in demand, as are A and E departments, and we’ve got to do something differently. We can’t just keep doing what we’re doing.

“We’ve got to provide the right care, in the right place, at the right time – and that place isn’t always A and E.”

Rapid Handovers are another new technique being used by staff to free up their resources.

These are cases when paramedics, having transported a patient to hospital, are able to leave them to be seen without having to interact with Emergency Department staff.

Mr Shaw said this system could be used for patients identified as low risk, who would be given a full hand-over form detailing all the necessary information for hospital staff.

He said: “It gives our crews the opportunity to get back out on the road.”

Mr Shaw also spoke about the success of additional staff and vehicle support resources to deal with transfers to major trauma centres.

National reforms have seen a network of 22 specialist bases created to provide life-saving treatment for seriously-ill patients such as those who have head injuries, stab wounds or have been in car accidents.

NWAS has been integral to the new system in South Cumbria, taking patients to the Royal Preston Hospital.

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