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Patients spared hospital thanks to innovative ambulance project

Patients spared hospital thanks to innovative ambulance project
19 February 2013

Dozens of patients every day are being spared unnecessary hospital admissions thanks to an innovative ambulance scheme.

Four special cars have been launched by the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) to visit 999 callers with less serious complaints who may not need to go to hospital and enable more to be treated in their own homes.

The aim is to alleviate pressure on the NHS system and make the process much easier and more comfortable for the patient.

Each roving admission avoidance car (RAAC) has been going to eight to ten patients a day since being launched in Norfolk two weeks ago and Suffolk at the start of the year and the majority of these are treated at home rather than having to go to hospital.

The cars were launched in west Norfolk, Waveney, central Norfolk and east and west Suffolk especially for the busy winter period as these areas were pinpointed as benefiting the most from the project.

Staffed by an emergency care practitioner (ECP), they will continue until the end of March but EEAST will also be evaluating if they could be of any more benefit in the future.

ECPs have more advanced skills and training than paramedics and are able to treat patients with lower priority complaints in their own homes.

Teresa Church, General Manager for A&E Operations in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: "The scheme has been really successful saving an awful lot of admissions which is much better for patients who don't actually need to go to hospital but might just need intervention at home.

"ECPs have a set of skills above a paramedic and can treat a wide range of conditions that could be managed at home but which are currently conveyed to hospital.

"For those who do not require hospital care this will mean faster and more appropriate treatment on scene."

Only certain lower priority categories of medical need such as cases of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting, flu like symptoms, headaches and minor injuries, infections, allergies and other minor illnesses, will qualify for the scheme.

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